The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Farm Bill Updates: Letters from MA Orgs, Witnesses to Hunger Op Eds, Hunger Action Events Next Week, College students

Thanks to all the organizations who have been active in defending federal nutrition program benefits!  Your voices are being heard!  Keep it up!
1.  Massachusetts organizations send strong letter to Farm Bill Conferees, MA Delegation and MA elected officials: 
Huge thanks to ALL the organizations that signed onto the attached letter, which we shipped to the DC Staff of of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairmen, Ranking Members and Mass Delegation at 1 PM on September 4th.  We know other organizations hoped to sign on but staff were out due to end of August vacations and Labor Day festivities. If your organization was unable to sign, you can still send a letter directly to the House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairs and the MA Delegation.
2.  Witnesses to Hunger "Mothers Raise their Voices" Op Ed on Farm Bill:  
A deep bow to Witnesses to Hunger members, Diane Sullivan and Juell Frazier for their powerful Labor Day Op Ed raising their voices as mothers with lived experience of hunger and poverty, urging the Farm Bill Conference Committee to hear their voices and stories as they deliberate the future of the SNAP program.   If you have not had a chance to do so, please amplify this Op Ed in your social media circles.
3.  Hunger Awareness Events in Western MA and Boston next week! 
  • The Greater Boston Food Bank is hosting a "Hunger Action Month" event on Thursday, September 13th at Boston City Hall from 1 to 4 PM, including a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new food truck and to raise more media attention to hunger in Massachusetts. To register for this event, go HERE:  
  •  National SNAP Defense Call in Day - Thursday, September 13th:  Even if you cannot make it to Boston - please note that Feeding America and Massachusetts’ hunger-relief organizations - including the regional Food Banks - are hosting a National Call-in Day to activate supporters to call their representatives in Congress and urge them to advocate for a strong 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, including SNAP. Click here for the GBFB Call-in Day instructions  Feeding America has set up a special toll free line to facilitate your call: 888-398-8702
4.  REMINDERS on SNAP and college students:
  • Students denied SNAP due to DTA paperwork:  Please keep MLRI informed of any cases where low income college students are denied SNAP benefits. We have already heard of students denied for failure to get the DTA financial aid form (EDUC-1) filled out  - when financial aid offices at Community Colleges have been expressly told they cannot complete these forms (per instructions from the Mass Community College Executive Office, based on federal US Dept of Education privacy guidance). IMPORTANT: Students have the right to submit alternative verification, notably a self-declaration about their non-federal financial aid, along with a print out of their financial aid award letter. Quite a few DTA workers have reportedly refused to accept this documentation and are insisting on the EDUC-1 form.  Attached is the statement Bunker Hill CC has released on this matter.  Please let MLRI know ASAP if you see these cases. 
Next Boston SNAP Coalition meeting, Tuesday, September 25th - 10 to Noon in Boston at St Francis House.  Agenda to go out before meeting.. 

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