[contents: fast food,food accessibility,race,class,veterans,elderly,Boston,income inequality,housing inequality, Angela Davis,Planned Parenthood, birth control,low income women, child poverty,Texas, criminal justice system, foster care system]

    1. McDouble is ‘cheapest and most nutritious food in human history’ –   “The double cheeseburger provides 390 calories, 23 grams of protein – half a daily serving – seven per cent of daily fibre, 19 grams of fat and 20 per cent of daily calcium, all for between $1 and $2”.
      I’m just leaving it at that.


    2. Why Food Belongs in Our Discussions of Race | Civil Eats – I believe I shared this months ago but it showed up on my twitter tl this week and it’s always worth a reshare. I may have to stash it somewhere I can get to it easily for one of those times people ask me why I address racial issues.

    3. After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies –  Planned Parenthood gives low income women access to birth control. Birth control prevents pregnancy. How WEIRD that Planned Parenthood losing funds that enabled them to provide birth control didn’t keep women from getting pregnant! I’m shocked.

    4. Progressive Struggles against Insidious Capitalist Individualism: An Interview with Angela Davis… – everything Angela Davis says is worth sharing here

    5. Dolores Westfall, 79: ‘I’m Too Poor To Retire, Too Young To Die’ – I’m not supposed to swear here but this is getting fucking ridiculous

    6. Why Therapists Should Talk Politics -The personal is political. It makes no sense to not include that as therapy.

    7. Poor white kids are less likely to go to prison than rich black kids – STFU if you try to say “it’s not a race issue, it’s a class issue”

    8. Report Finds Sharp Increase in Veterans Denied V.A. Benefits – This is based on 70 years of data.

    9. Boston’s struggle with income segregation – The Boston Globe– “In 1970, just 8 percent of families in Boston and the surrounding cities and towns lived in the poorest neighborhoods. Now, the figure is more than twice as high — 20 percent. Over the same period, the proportion of families living in the wealthiest neighborhoods has nearly tripled, from 6 percent to 16 percent.

      The surge in affluence in some areas and poverty in others has wiped out scores of mixed-income neighborhoods. In 1970, 7 in 10 families lived in these places. Now it’s just 4 in 10.”


       

    10. Majority of US Public School Students Are In Poverty – for the first time in 50 years, the majority of kids in public school nationwide are considered low income with the highest concentration being in the southern and western states

    11. Broken foster care system may be  contributing to homeless crisis in San Francisco – I’m done. I cant even make it to twelve today

 

Links: Food Justice & SNAP News – 1.13.16

[contents: food stamps, SNAP,Jeb Bush,Paul Ryan,block grants,marriage does not end poverty, states that will see SNAP cuts this month or soon, food insecurity,CSAs and food stamps,low income cooking classes for kids]

 

Our Prez had this to say about food stamps last night in the State of the Union address ….

via Think Progress

He isn’t wrong.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan has been talking about poverty. He and other GOP dudes has what is being called “a bold and big new plan to end poverty”. On January 9th, Ryan and Sen Tim Scott moderated a Republican presidential forum on poverty.

Now, without even hearing what was said, I would assume that any plan put forth by the GOP to end poverty could also be dubbed The Bootstrap Plan. The idea of poverty solutions coming from the Republican party is laughable . Media Matters correctly identified the forum as a sham. Paul Ryan tossed out some sound bytes that sounded like he was trying to get some bipartisan support for these bold ideas. He talked about how we need to “Push wages up. Push the cost of living down. Get people off the sidelines.” One of the key takeaway points was that “a job is the only way out of poverty”, which completely ignores the current situation in the U.S. where many people in poverty DO have jobs…plural….and still live in poverty. This also really doesn’t address how disabled and elderly people or people who are caregivers for children or elderly family members are to be lifted out of poverty. Overall, the policies discussed contradict what the evidence says current safety net programs do and would increase poverty instead.

On the topic of SNAP,  there was much talk of “reform” and outright ending the program entirely. Jeb Bush laid out his plan prior to the poverty forum. His plan is to end SNAP and said “I know that giving states more flexibility will open the door for transformative ideas to eliminate poverty and increase opportunity”.   Whatever the hell that means. He also suggested that marriage is what will bring people out of poverty and on that key point, I’m done listening to anything he says.

(No,marriage won’t solve poverty, types the married blogger living in poverty)

Thankfully, economist Jared Bernstein explains what what Jeb’s plan is. When GOP candidates talk about ending SNAP, they mean they will cut SNAP as a federal program and give over to states an “opportunity grant” to be used to fund states’ own version of these programs. It’s a terrible idea and Bernstein explains:

The main reason this idea is so destructive is that it undermines the essence of the safety net, or its countercyclical function. The figure above makes the case (as the figure’s a bit gnarly, I pasted in the data below). It shows that when the last downturn hit, SNAP caseloads quickly responded to the loss of income among low-income households, while Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) hardly responded at all. The opportunity grant threatens to turn SNAP into TANF, killing the former’s countercyclical aspect in the same way block grants killed it for TANF.

We can learn a lot more about this bad idea from studying how SNAP worked in the last recession and thereafter.

Its countercyclical response in the figure is undeniable. Given that, some critics try to move the goalposts by granting that SNAP is responsive at the start of a downturn but arguing it’s less so later in the expansion, implying that it’s taking too long for

caseloads to fall as the economy has improved. There’s no question that SNAP caseloads, which are now slowly coming down, remained elevated as the unemployment rate fell. But for a number of reasons, that proves little.

You can read all of Bernstein’s WaPo article here.

Last week, Talk Poverty reported on The Ten Worst States for Food Insecurity. I’m thinking about what ending SNAP and giving block grants to those states would mean. For the love of Paul Ryan’s gym shorts….that can’t happen.
TenWorstStates-FoodInsecurity

Moving on to other SNAP & food justice related things….
Let me start with a few GOOD THINGS:

⇒ you can finally use SNAP to get a CSA share. This will help some people gain access to fresh produce but honestly, probably only if the CSA does a sliding scale fee or type of discount for SNAP share holders  [via Modern Farmer]

⇒ MicroGreens is a great non-profit that teaches 6th and 7th graders how to cook healthy meals on a SNAP budget [via Civil Eats]

⇒ A school cut the summer meal program for low income kids ,so this woman got her caterer’s license and a pub let her use their kitchen to cook meals for them. Hero. [via Upworthy ]

Ok, on to the bad stuff.

SNAP cuts are now in effect or pending in the following states….
New Jersey

New Mexico

North Carolina (23 counties)

Mississippi

Pennsylvania

Tennessee (and Arkansas)

As many as 1 million people could lose SNAP this year [via Daily Kos]

Most of these cuts are due to states ending job waivers and enforcing time restrictions.

But as this points out, Requiring jobs won’t make jobs appear

 


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Feeding America’s Backpack Program


This school year we’ve been participating in the Backpack Program. The program’s intention is to provide meals to food insecure kids during weekends and school breaks when they might not have access to enough food.

Each Friday a bag of food comes home with each of my boys. Friday’s food often looks like this :


Each bag has a boxed meal, a couple packets of oatmeal, a can of fruit ( usually applesauce or mandarin oranges), a can of veggies, a protein( either peanut butter or tuna/chicken), and a can of soup.

The program has been really helpful these past couple of months. Even though the program is centered around children getting enough food, it’s been a help to our whole family. If I had a dollar for every parent who told me they skip meals to make sure their kids eat, I’d be able to feed a whole lot of families. Programs like these usually provide food security for everyone in the household. Some of the food that comes home in the backpacks can easily be used to supplement family meals. I use the canned applesauce as a baking substitute for oil/butter or eggs when they’re in short supply. Canned veggies can be thrown into casseroles , skillet meals, or homemade soups. I use the tomato soup in rice dishes,chili,soups,and things like my own version of this Cabbage and Lentil Skillet Bake. And let’s not forget that weird pierogi casserole I made with the leftover boxed mac and cheese.

Speaking of boxed mac and cheese…

Before the Backpack Program, my kids very rarely had boxed mac and cheese. I’ve come clean before as being a bit of a food snob who had to make major adjustments with a poverty “budget”. I make THE best homemade mac and cheese but there’s no way that’s being made too much in our house these days. I had one recent weekend where I didn’t even have butter or milk for the boxed mac and cheese. I used water instead. Like this:

I am often privy to discussions among “real food” advocates. They talk about boxed mac and cheese as if it’s the worst thing you could ever feed a kid. There is a clear presentation among many that a parent feeding their kid this is not only an idiot but they don’t care at all about their child’s health. Now, I love my homemade gooey,cheesy mac and cheese but I have a real appreciation for the boxed stuff now,too. What some might consider “crappy food” is better than no food at all. With 22% of all children in the U.S. living in poverty (TWENTY TWO PERCENT!),  it’s time to stop pearl clutching over a list of ingredients or even at canned vegetables that don’t meet privileged foodie approval  and just get enough food into these children’s homes. Period.

If you’re interested in supporting programs like the Backpack Program, you can donate hereA $1 donation = 11 meals. You may also donate these items directly to a food bank:

BackPackWishList_1.14

Special thank you to Food Bank of the Southern Tier and Ithaca City School District for helping in my area to put food in low income children’s homes via the Backpack Program.