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SNAP in the news; FRAC Reports you can use for your advocacy

There have been a number of important news reports and analyses about food stamps/SNAP that you may want to keep in your anti-hunger advocacy tool box:

I. The Nation Article on SNAP - "The Safety Net that Deserves its Name": This news article gives an excellent summary of the core talking points why SNAP is one of the top safety-net programs in the country, and why it should be protected !

II. New FRAC Report Highlights Low-Income Households' Struggle to Access/Afford Healthy Food  (FRAC, December 15, 2011)

A Half Empty Plate: Fruit and Vegetable Affordability and Access Challenges in America  finds households with incomes less than $24,000/year reported struggling to afford and access fresh fruits and vegetables 2.5 times more frequently (13.8 percent) than those with incomes between $60,000 and $89,999 (5.7 percent). The report analyzes the answers given by hundreds of thousands of survey respondents to a question posed for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project: “In the city or area where you live, is it easy or not easy to get affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.” FRAC characterizes “not easy” answers as evidence of an affordability and access challenge. “A household’s ability to access healthy food hinges on having enough resources to do so. What the data in our analysis show is that access and affordability are household economic insecurity problems as well as community ‘food desert’ problems,” said Jim Weill, FRAC President. “The remedies have to centrally include supporting families’ ability to purchase healthier food.” 

III.  FRAC Report Finds Spending on Food by Tens of Millions of Americans Drops to Unhealthy Level:  (FRAC, December 8, 2011)

In A Tightening Squeeze: The Declining Expenditures on Food by American Households, FRAC analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture annual reports that compare the amount of households’ median spending on food to the amount of the Thrifty Food Plan – the level the government defines as needed for a bare bones diet on an emergency basis, albeit a level that many experts consider to be inadequate for most families to obtain a healthy diet.

The FRAC analysis found that:  a) Spending on food by the median household fell from 1.36 times the Thrifty Food Plan level in 2000 to 1.19 times that level in 2010. b) By 2010 median spending on food by Black households and Hispanic households had fallen to the point where it was only a tiny bit above (101 percent for Black households) or was actually below (96 percent for Hispanic households) the bare bones Thrifty level. c) Spending by households with incomes less than 185 percent of the poverty level fell from 106 percent of the thrifty level in 2000 to 95 percent in 2010. “In short, tens of millions of households are failing to attain an adequate standard for food purchasing,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “When families don’t have enough resources to purchase an adequate diet, it leads to increased hunger and damages health, mental health, family cohesion, early child development, learning, and productivity at work. Today’s inability to afford enough food will lead to widespread harm to the nation’s children and adults, its schools and its workplaces, and its economy unless this trend is reversed.”