Right now, only half of all students who need school breakfast (those eligible for free or reduced-price school meals) are receiving it. Breakfast After the bell has proven to increase participation in school breakfast by up to 85%. Tell your legislators to support S. 2441 "An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell."
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.
If Massachusetts increased its minimum wage to $15 per hour, 18,000 households would no longer be food insecure. This represents a 7% reduction in food insecurity in the Commonwealth.
As of September 2017, there were 442,934 Massachusetts households participating in SNAP.
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.
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!
Urge friends and family in other states to call their legislators.
In Massachusetts, 1 in 8 residents receives SNAP. And in FY2016, SNAP kept 141,000 of our state’s residents out of poverty. On December 22, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans and increases the deficit by estimates as high as $1.8 trillion.
Many believe these tax cuts will ultimately be paid for by cutting spending on social safety-net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 12/5/2017).
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)
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.
Receive emailed action alerts and legislative updates.
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.
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.
Introducing the first-ever edition of The Hunger Advocate, our new bi-weekly round-up of news articles about issues that affect hunger in Massachusetts and beyond.
The Farm Bill is the primary legislation that shapes and funds the majority of the food and agricultural programs in the United States including large parts of our nutrition assistance programs. Project Bread closely monitors the Farm Bill because it is also the bill that determines the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which currently helps over 40 million low-income Americans, including over 750,000 in Massachusetts, afford an adequate diet.
We’re changing the conversation, and changing lives. Join us.
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