Right now, Congress is threatening to turn SNAP into a block grant.
Block grants aren't grants—they are cuts—and if passed would jeopardize the ability of tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents to access enough nutritious food to keep from going hungry.
Speak up today by sending an email to your Representatives thanking them for working to ensure SNAP remains fully funded.
Our perspective on solutions takes into account the need to strengthen the regional food system, the rights of working adults to earn a living wage, and the right for all people in Massachusetts to have access to fresh and healthy food.
As of October 2013, there were 501,212 MA households participating in SNAP. This number continues to grow.
In 2011, 46% of fast-food workers in Massachusetts relied on $173 million in aid (SNAP, Medicaid and EITC) to meet basic expenses every month.
In 2015, 9.7% of Massachusetts households—nearly 675,000 adults and children—were food insecure.
Changing public policies can make a substantial and positive impact in the lives of families who struggle to make ends meet. You can help influence policies that protect people from hunger by taking action on these current campaigns. You will be helping to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts can access nutritious food—a basic right!
Thank your Congressional leaders for ensuring that SNAP remains fully funded.
In Massachusetts, 1 in 9 residents receive SNAP. And in FY2016, SNAP kept 141,000 of our state’s residents out of poverty. Right now, Congress is threatening to turn SNAP into a block grant. If SNAP were to become a block grant, each state would receive a pre-determined amount to spend. States would determine who was eligible or they could decide that everyone gets lower benefits. And when the funding ran out (even if there was another economic recession), SNAP recipients would be left to fend for themselves until the next budget cycle. In other words, block grants aren’t grants – they are cuts.
What is the Community Eligibility Provision?
The proposed House FY18 Budget includes a cut to a newer and lesser-known program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP came out of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and streamlines the process for qualified students to receive free meals while also enabling high poverty schools to serve universal free meals without applications.
Historically, in order to qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, parents would need to fill out a form provided by the schools showing eligibility based on income. For many districts this creates a significant burden of paperwork. Once a student is determined to be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, they then must be charged (or not charged) accordingly.
CEP allows individual schools or groups of schools to provide free meals to all students as long as 40% of enrolled students are directly certified for free school meals. This type of certification does not require an application or any additional paperwork. Students qualify for direct certification if anyone in their household is enrolled in at least one federal anti-poverty program including SNAP, TANF, or Medicaid in some states, including Massachusetts. Students with homeless, foster, or migrant status are also directly certified.
CEP reduces the administration burden for both schools and families by eliminating the application process in high poverty schools. Additionally, CEP reduces stigma since all students are able to receive meals for free. An early report on CEP showed it increased lunch participation by 13% and breakfast participation by 25%. (i)
What you need to know about the house FY18 Budget.
On October 5, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a budget resolution that will intensify the weight of poverty for millions of struggling Americans, including up to 1 in 8 Massachusetts households. As the leading anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts, we call upon the Senate to reject these cuts in their own version of the budget and for Congress to protect the future of federal nutrition programs.
The proposed House budget includes:
- $150 billion in SNAP cuts through block grant-type structural changes in the latter years of the 10-year budget window. Remember, block grants aren't grants—they're cuts. (i)
- A $1.6 billion cut to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for school lunch and breakfast in high poverty schools, targeting an estimated 8,284 currently participating schools with over 3.8 million students, and precluding another 12,843 schools with over 6.2 million students from choosing this option. (ii)
- This cut to CEP will happen by changing the identified student percentage threshold for CEP from 40% to 60% of students, which could impact over 35,000 students in 91 schools who are currently enrolled in CEP in Massachusetts. (iii)
To learn more about CEP, click here.
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As we continue to support the working families of Massachusetts, we ask you to help amplify our anti-hunger, anti-poverty work by joining the Project Bread Action Team. Your legislators want to hear from you, their constituents. Sign up to join the Action Team and we will update you via email on progress in the fight for a living wage, as well as on other relevant policies coming out of DC and Beacon Hill. When necessary we will ask you to raise your voice.
We know hunger is often silent, but together we can speak up and speak loudly.
We support increasing the minimum wage in Massachusetts to $15 by 2021.
At Project Bread, we believe good food is a basic right for all. We are proud of our work increasing household dollars spent on healthy food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). We provide support through our FoodSource Hotline and fund community food programs through our annual Walk for Hunger. Despite these efforts, however, approximately 675,000 Massachusetts residents continue to struggle with hunger.
While programs such as SNAP offer necessary assistance, there is no substitute for a living wage.
We will continue to proudly help families like Rayna's, but hardworking mothers like her should not have the additional stress of food insecurity. By raising the minimum wage, we can better help families like hers support themselves by attacking the root cause of hunger – poverty. That's why Project Bread has submitted written testimony in support of two bills in the Massachusetts Legislature: House Bill 2365 and Senate Bill 1004. These bills would increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2021.
Project Bread’s work in public policy and advocacy is changing the conversation around hunger in our state and beyond. And it is helping to evolve the way we, and others, approach the needs of the food insecure in Massachusetts. Together, we can elevate the voices of all of those who face hunger — and ensure their needs are met with dignity and efficacy.
Read Project Bread Executive Director Ellen Parker and Board Chair Dr. Ronald E. Kleinman's op-ed published in The Boston Globe on Monday, May 22, "Children have a right to healthy food at school."
East Longmeadow, MA – June 7, 2017 – Project Bread, the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts, was joined by State Representative Angelo Puppolo, Jr., State Representative Brian Ashe, and Town Manager Denise Menard at Mapleshade Elementary School on Wednesday. Members of the school committee were also on hand to observe the Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) program in Mrs. Plahna’s third grade class and to celebrate a successful inaugural year of offering breakfast as part of the instructional day.
We’re changing the conversation, and changing lives. Join us.
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Hunger is silent. So we speak up–join the annual movement to end hunger in Massachusetts, always the first Sunday in May. Money raised by participants supports more than 300 anti-hunger programs that connect people to the healthy food they deserve.
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