Today’s 12 things are all things food assistance related. Content: Arkansas, drug testing,WIC,food policing,child hunger,summer meals,poverty,SNAP gap, NY,West Virginia, junk food bills,stigmas

  1. 12,000 unemployed Arkansans will lose SNAP benefits since the state has reinstated work requirements. The cuts will take effect April 1. [Arkansas Online ]

  2. Robert Aderholt, a staunchly “pro-life”, pro-war Republican dude from Alabama, is the one and only congress-person blocking funding to expand food assistance programs that will feed low income kids in the summer time when school is out and they won’t be receiving free or reduced lunch. [Left Wing Nation’s Douchebag of the Day ]

  3. This Aderholt guy sounds like a real peach. He also recently introduced legislation that would undo the federal ban on drug testing for food stamps. Because that’s the compassionate thing to do, he says. He wants to spend $600million to drug test everyone so they can get food. Maybe he meant it’s the opposite of the compassionate thing to do. Plus, it’s been well established that drug testing for welfare is a giant waste of money. [HuffPo]

  4. As a response to Aderholt’s proposal ( I almost wrote Aderhole. Coincidence that his name is so close to Asshole? I think not), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said,  “If we’re going to look at drug testing for SNAP, we should take the entire Department of Agriculture and all those programs that provide federal subsidy to folks, and they ought to be drug tested as well.” [ ThinkProgress]

  5. Gov LePage is very proud that Maine has kicked so many people off food stamps but USDA secretary Vilsack would like to point out that LePage isn’t doing a whole lot to actually help people. Maine has only used 74% of the money given to the state for job training . So, they’re not really doing enough to make sure these unemployed people w/out SNAP have a job. []

  6. In West Virginia, a new bill passed that restricts what can be bought with SNAP. Only WIC eligible foods will be allowed to be purchased. Wisconsin tried this before and it didn’t work out so well, so maybe this will be short lived. The list of WIC eligible foods are limited and sometimes pretty specific. WIC doesn’t allow you to buy basic food staples like flour,cooking oil,herbs or even pasta. The allowable foods are often not the least expensive, such as 100% juices and whole grain breads. Meat eaters are SOL. You can’t even get fish under this bill, unless it’s tuna. No pre-packaged meals are allowed, which will be difficult for someone with out full kitchen amenities or who has limited abilities. Also for those who live in food deserts, there are very few things available that would be eligible. [ WV Gazette-Mail ]

  7. In New York, Senator Ritchie proposed a new bill that will make both “luxury” and “junk” food forbidden on the SNAP purchase list. The bill singles out lobster,steak,and decorated birthday cake. My birthday was yesterday ,so birthday cake is fresh in my memory (probably because I ate it for breakfast).  Birthday cake is important to me, especially in lean-food stamp budget times. When you can’t buy presents for your kid, at least there’s cake. Hopefully the NY proposal never marries with the WV bill because then there won’t be cake for poor people ever. [Take Part]

  8. The USDA is proposing new rules for vendors who accept SNAP in an effort to expand accessibility to healthier foods and a variety of them. I think this shows the USDA is paying attention to the issues affecting those who live in food deserts and it’s certainly a step in the right direction. But (you knew there would be a but) I do have a couple things I’m thinking about. First of all, it is definitely great to give more choices but what about affordability. You can give healthier choices next to other food and people with a SNAP budget will still choose the less expensive. Because they have to, not because they want to. Also, where I used to live, we didn’t have a car and there were only 2 stores within walking distance. Both were small… one a locally owned natural grocery (expensive anyway) and the other a Family Dollar. The Family Dollar didn’t have all the components needed to accept EBT and it took them forever to even try to make the necessary changes. The manager at the time acted like it was a huge hassle and annoyed by the process. I don’t know if it truly was challenging for the store or if that particular manager didn’t want to do the work but I’m just wondering if requiring stores to add even more components will mean less availability of stores able to accept EBT. [PBS]

  9. There’s a few studies published recently that examines how well families are able to eat on SNAP and the findings are unsurprising to most who have to eat w/ SNAP. SNAP is still not sufficient enough to feed families for a whole month . “SNAP households experience … financial strain that is eased but not alleviated by participation in the SNAP program.” and 45% limit and skip meals in order to make it through the month. Another study shows that hospital admissions for hypoglycemia spike among low income families only during the last week of the month when food stamps have run out. [KTOO Public Media]

  10. Long story short: Arizona is going to spend $6 million in one year and $4.2 M every year after just to put people’s pictures on their SNAP card. []

  11. News Flash: The all Republican anti-poverty task force headed by Paul Ryan is full of shit. Thank you, reps Jim McGovern & Rosa DeLauro for calling them out.

    DeLauro, D-Conn., said that Republicans have used misleading statistics to claim that trillions of dollars have been spent over the last few decades without lowering poverty. But, what they don’t say is that the programs advocated by Republicans would ultimately increase poverty.

    “Speaker Ryan’s new poverty taskforce is a sham,” she said. “It is made up of only Republicans with voting records that cut funding to the very social safety net programs that combat poverty.”

    [Worchester,Mass Telegram]


  12. This is a really good info graphic that highlights all the key facts about SNAP and who gets it.


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