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SNAP Coalition meeting 10/26; School Meal debt bill signed by Guv Baker; Outreach to MA MOCs on SNAP Time Limit Bill

We hope you are enjoying this lovely October day.  A few things on the horizon for today and next week.

SNAP Coalition Meeting – Tuesday, October 26th

Our next (4th Tuesday) SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, October 26th from 10 to 11:30 AM.  Here’s the meeting Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/209236814?pwd=WVRjdGc3YUZkVElPTjlCWmdhd2NjUT09

 

The SNAP Coalition agenda will include:

·         Federal updates on Build Back Better Act and pending federal legislation (see more action alerts below)

·         State Legislative and ARPA Updates

·         DTA SNAP policy updates 

·         Quick updates on “SNAP math checkups”, the SNAP “checkbox” on the MassHealth applications, SNAP and college students

·         Immigrant SNAP eligibility – Afghan evacuees and Haitian entrants

·         Local Office access issues and EBT cards

·         Updates/announcements

School meal debt/”meal shaming” Legislation signed by Governor Baker!

We are thrilled to report that Governor Baker signed legislation on 10/14/21 that will help  boost more school participation in the federal Community Eligibility Program (universal free meals) as well prohibit school districts from engaging in practices that put children in the middle of school meal debt issues.  School districts cannot toss hot meals, swap out cold cheese sandwiches, deny students participation in non-fee extracurricular activities, deny graduation exercises etc. Further, schools cannot add additional fees to unpaid meal debt (which means not referring meal debt to collection agencies). Restrictions on meal debt collection have helped sister states get more school districts to adopt CEP. And if we get the improvements in the Build Back Better Act (see alert below), many more MA schools will qualify for free school meals.

Please extend HUGE thanks to lead sponsors Senator Cynthia Creem, Reps Andy Vargas and Sean Garballey for getting this bill through.  Here’s one of the local media stories on the bill signing in the Patch and the Boson Herald.   

URGENT ACTION needed to Protect Child Nutrition Provisions in Build Back Better Act

We are joining forces with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and our state colleagues to urge our Members of Congress (MOCs) to protect the overall Build Back Better Act, specifically the child anti-hunger and anti-poverty provisions. The House Build Back Better Act is a historic investment in these programs, and the critically-needed anti-hunger provisions would ensure children have access to the nutrition they need year-round during and after the impacts from the pandemic.

This is a critical time to act — any efforts to reduce the overall size and scope of the reconciliation package could severely reduce the effectiveness and impact of the nutrition and anti-poverty provisions. We need Congress to hear from a diverse community of stakeholders that support for low-income children and their families is non-negotiable. 

Please click HERE to learn more and to quickly send an email to your Massachusetts MOC and urge them to protect these critical child nutrition provisions. Please also share with family and friends in sister states. 

Outreach needed to MA Delegation to support bill to stop SNAP Time Limits

We need your help getting our MA MOCs to co-sponsor Rep Barbara Lee’s bill, House Bill 1753, Improving Access to Nutrition Act of 2021 to eliminate the time limits on SNAP eligibility. This is the 3-month time limit impacting “able bodied without dependent” (ABAWD) households- the time limit may go back into effect in 2022 after the federal public health declaration ends, which is why we need to get this passed soon. 

Both Reps McGovern and Rep Pressley are co-sponsors, but we need the rest of the MA Delegation.  MLRI has notified ALL of the MA MOC staff of this importance of this bill.  Rep Lee’s bill is long overdue and would make a permanent law change that will promote food security and equity for low-income Massachusetts residents and all Americans. 

Since it was enacted in 1996, the SNAP eligibility time limit restricts many working-age adults without dependents to receive only three (3) months of benefits in a three-year period unless they document sufficient hours of work. This harsh policy has taken food off the tables of many struggling adults. In addition, time limits on SNAP eligibility exacerbate racial inequities and are counterproductive, especially considering SNAP’s effectiveness in improving economic stability, food security, health, and well-being.

PLEASE call or email your MOC today or early next week to get them to join on House Bill 1753. Let me know if you need additional talking points. 

 

 

See  you all on Tuesday!