March 2011 Issue Hunger in the News More than 1 in 5 Californians Struggle to Get Enough Food The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) recently r

March 2011 Issue

Hunger in the News

More than 1 in 5 Californians Struggle to Get Enough Food

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) recently released a report analyzing Gallup data on food hardship throughout 2010. The report finds nearly 1 in 5 Americans and more than 1 in 5 Californians responded affirmatively when asked: "Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?"

Largest Jump in Food Prices Since 1974

The Labor Department recently announced the Producer Price Index rose 1.6%, with food prices increasing 3.9% in February. This surge in food prices is the largest monthly gain since 1974. Most of this "increase was due to a sharp rise in vegetable costs, which increased nearly 50%."

Food Stamps in NYC, Keep Poverty Down During Recession

A recently released paper from New York City's Center for Economic Opportunity, reveals the important role food stamps and other forms of assistance have had in keeping the city's poverty rate in check during the recession. Policy Affects Poverty: The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005-2009 concludes that the poverty rate would have been 3% higher without federal tax programs passed in 2009 for low-income families and aggressive city action to boost enrollment in the Food Stamp Program and increase benefit amounts for those already participating in the program.

Between 2008 and 2009, the city's caseload grew by 13.2% (more than 100,000 cases) and during the same period the amount of benefits received annually by city residents expanded by nearly 39%, to $1.9 billion.

USDA Releases: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for American's

On January 31st, 2011, the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Currently two-thirds of of adults and one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese, which is "a crisis that we can no longer ignore" says Secretary Vilsack. The federal guidelines recently released 7th edition is intended to curb obesity trends, by encouraging Americans to balance their calorie consumption with physical activity and to consume healthier foods, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

65% of Teachers See Hunger in the Classroom

A new report from Share Our Strength, finds approximately 65% of teachers say there are children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home. The survey also found that 61% of those who perceive this problem purchase food for their students out of their own pockets, spending an average of $25 a month.

The teachers surveyed also expressed near unanimous agreement (98%) that there is a strong connection between eating a healthy breakfast and a student's ability to concentrate, behave well, and perform academically.

Unemployment Linked to Decreased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Every 1% increase in the unemployment rate correlates with a 2% to 4% reduction in the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as an 8% decline in the consumption of salad, according to a new paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a yearly telephone survey of 350,000 people in the U.S., which was then compared with national unemployment rates between 1990 and 2007.

Advocacy & Action

CalFresh Color Eng Edit

CalFresh Legislation Alert

Of the several bills dealing with CalFresh currently working their way through the California Legislature, AB 6 stands out as crucial for the future success and continued efficiency of the program.

AB 6:
The CalFresh Act of 2011: Finding Resources & Eliminating Significant Hurdles

This vital legislation seeks to increase access to and participation in CalFresh by removing barriers and simplifying the application process, while simultaneously implementing cost saving measures.

AB 6 will:

Make the transition to semi-annual reporting, which would simplify reporting requirements for CalFresh recipients, decrease administrative workloads, and make California compliant with USDA recommendations and timelines.
Eliminate the Statewide Fingerprint Imaging System (SFIS), which adds to the stigmatization of CalFresh, discourages participation, costs tax payers $17 million each year, and has not proven to be more effective at detecting fraud than other tactics already in use.
Create a "Heat and Eat" initiative in California, which would give all CalFresh households a nominal energy assistance benefit through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This would allow all households to claim the Standard Utility Allowance (SUA), increasing many households CalFresh benefit by about 13%. This program would not require additional paperwork or verification, would not require state general funds, and would be a microscopic portion of California's overall federal LIHEAP allotment.

See the 'How Can I Help?' section below for more information and to learn what you can do to support these important changes to CalFresh.

How Can I Help?

Act Now! You can help us deliver this message by calling your California Assembly Member today!

If you are a Humboldt County resident, you are in District 1 and can call Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro at (916) 319-2001 (for additional contact information click here to visit Assembly Member Chesbro's official website). If you live outside of Humboldt, click here to find your district and Assembly Member contact information.

The Message: “As my representative in the California Assembly I would like to urge you to support AB 6, which will help insure low-income households in our community have access to the foods they need for good health.

AB6 will eliminate bureaucratic hurdles and unnecessary requirements for CalFresh, making the program more accessible to those in need, while reducing administrative costs. Please to everything you can to help support AB6. Thank you."

Calendar of Events

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Bring a Million to Humboldt County 2011: Fresh Changes

In Humboldt County, less than half of those eligible for CalFresh participate in the program. If all of these people were to apply and begin receiving assistance, they would bring over one million additional dollars into the local economy each month. This additional money would be spent at local grocery stores and farmer's markets throughout Humboldt County, making it easier for struggling families to access the foods they need for good nutrition.

Each year, Food for People's "Bring a Million to Humboldt County" campaign highlights the benefits of CalFresh to the community and helps eligible households apply for assistance. The "Bring a Million to Humboldt County" campaign is currently in its third year, click here to view this year's fact sheet.

As part of the campaign, Food for People organizes numerous CalFresh clinics at food pantries, grocery stores and community sites throughout Humboldt County. CalFresh clinics are a great opportunity for people to ask questions and fill out applications. Click here to view the current schedule of clinics.

For more information on the "Bring a Million to Humboldt County" campaign or to schedule a CalFresh clinic, contact Michael Canning at Food for People (contact information below).

Food for People's 2nd Annual Canstruction - April 2nd

Food for People will be hosting Humboldt County's Second Annual Canstruction - Canned-Food Sculpture Contest. This event will challenge local teams to build spectacular sculptures constructed from non-perishable food items, which will then be donated to the food bank. For more information or to participate in this event, please contact Jason Whitley at (707) 445-3166 ext. 312.

Sculptures will be on display during Arts Alive at the Vance Hotel in Old Town Eureka, from 6:00-9:00PM on April 2nd, see you there!

Food for People's Monthly Cooking Class - April 28th

Each month, Food for People organizes a free cooking class for low-income households in Humboldt County. Taught by volunteer chef and College of the Redwoods instructor, Anne Harris; this class teaches basic culinary skills, food and kitchen safety, and how to make nutritious and delicious dishes using commodity foods and fresh produce.

For more information, please contact Jessica Collar at Food for People (contact information below).

Willow Creek Trike-a-Thon - April 30th

The Willow Creek Resource Center and St. Joseph Health System invites you to participate in the Willow Creek Trike-a-Thon. This free event will offer helmet checks and replacements, a tricycle obstacle course, prices, music, and food. Food for People staff will be tabling at this event offering information and resources on nutrition and physical activity.

Bring your bicycle helmet and join us at the Willow Creek Bible Church on Saturday, April 30th from 11:00AM to 2:00PM.

Letter Carriers' Food Drive - May 14th

Save the Date - May 14th will be the 19th Annual Letter Carriers' Food Drive. This nationwide food drive is organized each year by the National Association of Letter Carriers' (NLCA). People can leave food donations at their mailbox on May 14th and their letter carrier will pick-up the donation, before delivering it to Food for People.

Food for People will need more than 80 volunteers on May 14th to help unload the postal trucks and organize the incoming donations. This is a great family activity and shifts are available at different times throughout the day. Call Laura Hughes at (707) 445-3166 ext. 310 for more information.

CalFresh Task Force Meeting in April!

The CalFresh Task Force will be holding its next meeting on April 12th in Eureka. If you are interested in attending and have not received an e-mail, please contact Michael Canning at Food for People for more information (contact information below).

***

For more information on Food for People, to refer someone for assistance with CalFresh, to schedule a CalFresh training or application clinic, Hunger 101 presentation, or nutrition education activity for your organization, please contact:
Michael Canning
Community Education & Outreach Coordinator
(707) 445-3166 ext. 308 / [email protected]
OR
Jessica Collar
Nutrition Education Coordinator
ext. 305 / jcollar[email protected]

*Images in this issue are provided by: Food for People, Canstruction, and graur razvan ionut, Boaz Yiftach, thephotoholic, photostock, federico stevanin, and Filomena Scalise of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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