The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

“I’ve got to pay my rent.  I’ve got to pay gas and electric.  I’ve got to take care of the kids.  I’ve got to make sure there’s food in the house, you know, make sure they got clothes, make sure they got shoes, and make sure I got bus fare to even get to work.  Trying to struggle and juggle all of that on one income that’s coming in the house is extremely hard. It’s extremely hard because I would like to do more for my girls give them everything, of course every parent would.  Every parent would want to do more. It hurts when I can’t get them the things that they would want. So hopefully eventually things will get better; I’ll get a better job or something.  Something has to give, right?  It can’t be this way forever.” 

Food and Health

SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) is the most important resource to help families facing hunger. SNAP provides low-income households with funds to purchase groceries each month, which provides a powerful economic boost for local communities. A household's SNAP benefit is based on their income and expenses, including rent, utilities, and child care expenses.

Accessing...

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In June 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $127 billion from SNAP over the next 10 years.  The proposal recommends changing SNAP from an "entitlement" to a "block grant," meaning that SNAP would no longer be able to respond to increasing need as it did so successfully during the recent recession.  See this analysis of Congressman Ryan's budget proposal from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.  Congress must protect SNAP and its entitlement structure as they debate deficit reduction strategies in Washington.

WIC provides crucial nutrition assistance to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, as well as babies and toddlers under age 6.  Scientific research continues to show that WIC improves the health of very young children.  See our Children's HealthWatch research for more information about the health impacts of WIC...

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In June 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reduce funding for WIC in the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.  If passed in the Senate, this budget cut could drop 200,000 – 350,000 mothers and young children from the WIC program.  See an analysis from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.  The U.S. Senate should reject short-term cost saving measures that will hurt our youngest and most vulnerable children.

In June 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reduce funding for WIC in the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.  If passed in the Senate, this budget cut could drop 200,000 – 350,000 mothers and young children from the WIC program.  See an analysis from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.  The U.S....

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The Center is currently working with area hospitals to develop a model “hunger-free hospital” that involves food insecurity screenings, benefits enrollment assistance, discounted cafeteria meals, and more.  For more information or to get involved, please contact us!

CACFP is an under-utilized federal nutrition program that provides free meals and snacks for low-income children in childcare facilities.  In 2010, nearly 130,000 children in PA received nutrition assistance through CACFP in childcare settings.

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Nutrition advocates and early childhood providers across the state are partnering together to expand access to CACFP in childcare center and family childcare homes.  If you are interested in getting involved in this effort, please contact us!

The federal school meals programs operate in over 100,000 public and non-profit private schools across the country, serving more than 31 million school children each day.  Philadelphia's Universal School Meals Program - which allows all children in high-poverty schools to eat for free, without a meal application - is a highly-regarded national model.

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Due to major budget cuts, the Philadelphia School District recently announced its decision to close 26 full-service kitchens and replace them with pre-plated ("satellite") meals.  Along with other leading nutrition advocates, the Center testified against the decision at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission in June 2011.

Emergency food assistance is typically distributed at food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the city.  Emergency food assistance provides groceries and/or hot meals to those in need, but supply varies greatly and distributors are often unable to meet the demand. Experts agree that emergency food assistance cannot be expected to fill the shortcomings of the food stamp allotment.

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The majority of emergency food distributed comes from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).  Like other programs in the nutrition safety net, federal funding for TEFAP may be at risk in the current deficit reduction negotiations.

For millions of Americans living in depressed urban and rural areas, access to supermarkets – along with the fresh food that they sell – is extremely limited.  In many cases, families must choose between traveling several miles to do their food shopping or settling for the poor selection and quality of the food at local corner stores. 

Pennsylvania has been a national leader in...

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President Obama has proposed expanding FFFI to the rest of the nation in the 2011 federal budget with $345 million for a Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

The Farm Bill sets primary food and farm policies for the U.S. every five years.  The Nutrition Title of the Farm Bill includes SNAP, the National School Lunch Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).  The Nutrition Title accounts for approximately three-fourths of all Farm Bill spending.  The most recent Farm Bill was passed...

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The 2012 Farm Bill is expected to be very contentious because much less federal money will be available, there is increasing political pressure to cut spending.

 

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