This was sent to me via e-mail from Josh Nelson of the The Hatcher Group. The information he sent may be of interest to some of you, I recommend if you are interested taking a few moments to read the linked material as well as the below post:
I’m writing of behalf of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), to pass along some information on a toolkit for advocates they’ve just published called Smart Choices in Hard Times.
This resource guide aims to improve the state and local use of federal nutrition programs and help states leverage substantial additional federal nutrition dollars. As millions of families and thousands of communities strive to move from a deep recession to a sustained economic recovery, officials can use the strategies outlined in this guide to make “smart choices” and maximize federal nutrition benefits. Advocates can use the strategies to prioritize suggestions to policymakers and help guide efforts to improve the breadth and depth of the programs.
The toolkit can be accessed here.
In case you hadn’t seen it yet, I also wanted to pass along some new polling data FRAC released recently. This new data, based on a Gallup survey, provides details on the number of people unable to afford food in the last two years. Numbers are available on a national level through December 2009, on the state level for both 2008 and 2009, and for every Congressional District and the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
Here are some key findings:
* 18.5% of U.S. Households have experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months.
* 24.1% of U.S. Households with children have experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months.
* In 45 states and 311 Congressional districts, 15 percent or more of those surveyed said they had recently lacked money to buy enough food.
* Of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, 82 had food hardship rates of 15 percent or more.
* Mississippi had the largest number of people with what the report called “food hardship” (26.2 percent), while North Dakota had the lowest (10.6 percent).
No report before this has ever been based on a sample size adequate to analyze food hardship data at the large city and congressional district level. And no report before this has been able to look at food hardship data so close in time to publication.
Jason DeParle’s NYT article on this survey makes a good point:
The numbers soared at the start of the recession, but dipped in 2009 despite the continuing rise in unemployment. The anti-hunger group, the Food Research and Action Center, attributed that trend to falling food prices, an increasing use of food stamps and a rise in the amount of the food stamps benefit.
Last year’s federal stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, temporarily increased the average food stamps benefit by 18 percent, to about $130 a month for each member of a household.
Here are some resources on this: