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Food Policy Update: 6/22 Meeting with USDA Regional, Two Farewells, 6/29 Coalition Agenda

1) Meet and Greet with our New USDA Food and Nutrition Service Regional Administrator, James Arena-DeRosa:  The Food SNAP Coalition has a meeting scheduled with New England Regional Administrator James Arena DeRosa on Tuesday, June 22nd at 2 PM at the FNS Regional Office (10 Causeway Street in Boston - right near North Station).  All Food SNAP Coalition members are invited, BUT I need to know if you plan to attend so that I can alert the NERO FNS Office.  Please confirm if you will be attending by Friday, June 18th (and please leave ample time to get through security at 10 Causeway Street).

Attached is a bio of Mr. Arena-DeRosa (who worked with both Oxfam and the PeaceCorps). At the April Coalition meeting, members expressed great interest in getting to know Mr. Arena-DeRosa and sharing the work of the Coalition. We also discussed sharing with FNS our priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill, seeking FNS help with various Massachusetts waivers and renewal of pilots, seeking FNS assistance with access barriers faced by immigrant headed households (notably helping to dispel myths around "public charge") and more. So, this is a good first chance to share the history and agenda of the Coalition and to learn about where Mr Arena-DeRosa sees FNS heading in the coming months and years.

2) HAPPY TRAILS to Zainab Manasawala and Maryann Marshall ! The Coalition bids happy trails to TWO great anti-hunger troubadours moving on in life and work -  

Zainab Manasawala ends her 11 month AmeriCorps year of service at MLRI. Zainab has done an outstanding job running a legal clinic at St Francis House and Cardinal Mederios Center, flagging many SNAP policy issues affecting homeless persons, and has worked on a number of research projects at MLRI that have contributed greatly to our anti-hunger work. Zainab also spearheaded a recent effort with Homeland Security to get better policy guidance on public charge (stay tuned!). Zainab heads back to Pennsylvania with her husband and begins the job search process in her old stumping ground. We wish her the very best.

Maryann Marshall, DTA's SNAP policy guru, has been snarfed up by USDA. After many years of service at DTA, Maryann heads over to the FNS Regional Office the end of June to work on Management Evaluation, Program Access Evaluation and Modernization. Maryann has been a wonderful member of the Coalition, a SNAP policy wiz (too many policies and procedures to list here - but LOTS), and I know will be sorely missed by SNAP Director Phuoc Cao and DTA staff. But, good news for the Coalition, we know where to find you Maryann !! Kudos to FNS NERO on this hire!

3)  Coalition Meeting on June 29th:  This is a reminder of the Food SNAP Coalition Meeting on Tuesday, June 29th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House. Mary Flanigan of the Boston SNAP Unit will be doing us for an update on the Boston SNAP Unit (current comprised of the SNAP Web Unit and Dudley/NewMarket DTA Offices).  

In addition to Mary, the agenda will include:
* report on the Coalition meeting with FNS Regional,
* report on recent meeting with Homeland Security on public charge,
* status of FY2011 State Budget Conference Committee deliberations (including anti-immigrant provisions),
* discussion of the revised FFY2011 SNAP Outreach Plan (a new plan to be filed with FNS for the upcoming fiscal year)
* status of BEACON III roll out (yes, yes - any day now);
* implementation of FS/SNAP community college policy for career and technical education majors
* getting SNAP benefits for former UI claimants termination - how the Coalition can help with maximizing benefits.