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Amplify GBFB report, DTA offices plan, PEBT outreach info, Price Chopper

A number of updates below - most critically, please amplify the Boston Globe article on the GBFB study, linked below! 
 
Our Coalition meeting on Tuesday 5/11 from 10-11:30 will include a presentation from FNS NERO on D-SNAP, a summary from GBFB on their report, a discussion about DTA's reopening plans, and more - please tune in! Zoom info:
 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/209236814?pwd=WVRjdGc3YUZkVElPTjlCWmdhd2NjUT09

Meeting ID: 209 236 814
Passcode: 658102
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+13126266799,,209236814# US (Chicago)
 
Powerful Greater Boston Food Bank report - Gaps in Food Access during COVID
 
From October 2020 to January 2021, GBFB surveyed over 3,000 Massachusetts adults to obtain timely data on food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check out this GBFB study with the findings, just released- it includes many powerful stories and very clearly speaks to the ongoing vast need and food insecurity in our communities.
 
This Boston Globe article summarizes the findings and pulls out a number of stories on SNAP, P-EBT, and the need for emergency food, including:
  • "54% of those experiencing food insecurity had not signed up for SNAP, despite the fact that a majority of them — 71% — said they knew about the program and how to access it. But many worried they were ineligible and were concerned about what paperwork they might need to share."
  • "People of color saw the greatest increase in food insecurity, year over year: 58% of Latinx adults, 45% of Black adults, and 26% of Asian adults reported that they were experiencing hunger in 2020, while just 24% of white adults reported the same."
This study reinforces the critical need to close the SNAP gap and make sure families have the facts about SNAP. Here are MLRI's talking points for households who are not sure if they want to apply for SNAP. 
 
DTA local office phased reopening plan 
 
The DTA Commissioner has shared the Department's plans for a "phased" re-opening of local offices. Please see DTA's summary, sent to Advisory Board members, below. 
 
Since the pandemic began, DTA has been a national leader in ensuring access for families. However, we know that many of our most vulnerable households have been left behind or have faced delays in accessing benefits - including those who often need in person support and can't access DTA Connect or help via the phone. This includes people who are homeless/phoneless, older adults, Limited English Proficient, persons with disabilities etc. We are glad that DTA is working hard on a reopening plan that is safe for DTA staff and for clients. 
 
We will be discussing what this means during Tuesday's Coalition meeting - please come ready to share your concerns or thoughts about the below!
 
P-EBT Outreach Materials on SNAP - connect families eligible for but not getting SNAP!

 

As students return to in-person learning, we wanted to re-share MLRI's flier on food resources for kids who are learning in person. 


There are approximately 150,000 students in MA - likely more! - who are getting PEBT and are likely eligible for but not receiving SNAP. Please help spread the word! DTA and the Shah Foundation have created fantastic materials on SNAP and P-EBT for families - these materials are available in 11 languages on MAp-EBT.org! 

Help spread the word!
  • Send a text, email or robo call using the MAp-EBT.org templates
  • Distribute the flyers broadly 
  • Post on social media 
Price Chopper now accepting SNAP online ordering

MA SNAP households can now use their SNAP benefits to buy groceries online with their EBT card from participating Price Chopper stores for pickup and delivery via Instacart. Price Chopper is the fourth SNAP online retailer in Massachusetts, joining Walmart, Amazon, and ALDI. To learn more, see the state's press release here. 
 
Elder Benefits Programs- Mass Continuing Legal EducationTraining: Wed 5/12, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
 
In these hard times, older people in Massachusetts depend on a variety of benefits programs to meet their income and health needs. This program provides legal services advocates, lawyers, paralegals, social and health services workers, and community activists with an overview and basic knowledge of the public resources available to elders. Experts will review the basic eligibility rules for cash benefit programs like SSI and Social Security Insurance benefits, home-based care services from the Office of Elder Affairs, and health care programs like Medicare and MassHealth. To register, click here
 
______________
 
Date: Wed, May 5, 2021 at 5:02 PM
Subject: DTA Reopening Advisory Board Message
 

Advisory Board Members,

 

Thank you for joining Commissioner Kershaw and members of the DTA leadership team yesterday to discuss the Department’s plan for reopening the agency’s 21 local transitional assistance offices (TAOs) in June.

 

As the Commissioner discussed yesterday, effective June 28th, DTA will begin a gradual and phased return to a safe level of in-person services for clients at our 21 TAOs across the Commonwealth. On Monday, June 28th applicants and clients will be able to visit local TAOs to use self-service kiosks, scanners, and phones to:

  • Drop off or scan documents
  • Apply for SNAPTAFDC, and EAEDC
  • Complete SNAP recertifications
  • Request replacement EBT cards to be mailed
  • Access services through the Assistance Line or be connected to the appropriate DTA staff

 Our offices are an important piece of the fabric of the communities we serve, connecting clients with critical benefits and resources. The initial phase of our plan is primarily aimed at alleviating client access gaps to services by making self-service tools available at our TAOs. While our work during COVID-19 has expanded access for most clients, barriers remain for some of our most vulnerable client populations.

 

 

You can learn more about the Department’s reopening plan and the various ways families can continue to do business with the Department remotely in our news article

 

It is important to know that the Department’s operational reopening plan and timeline are contingent on a number of important factors, including current public health statistics, state and federal public health guidelines, and the implementation of operational changes to support health and safety requirements. As we move forward through this transition, we will provide you with any updates that may affect the Department’s reopening plan.

 

As always, thank you for your continued partnership. If you have any questions about the Department’s reopening plan, please contact Chris Power, Director of External Affairs at Christopher.C.Power@mass.gov.

 

 

Chris Power

Director of External Affairs

Department of Transitional Assistance

600 Washington Street, 5th Floor

Boston, MA 02111

M: (617) 777-6256 | O: (617) 348-5328

Christopher.C.Power@mass.gov