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Today, tomorrow and early next week are opportune times to communicate with the Massachusetts delegation and their staff about the important of protecting the SNAP program and ensuring alternate funding for Child Nutrition. Members of Congress are coming back to work next week (during the "lame duck session") to take up this and a number of critical budget and legislative issues. The core message to Congress is a strong two-fold ask: pass the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill and fix the SNAP cut in a separate legislative vehicle!

This is to confirm that the next Boston Food SNAP Coalition meeting is scheduled for:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street in Boston, 6th Floor
10 to Noon, (and will start promptly at 10 AM).

In its October 2010 Report to Congress on “Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program”, USDA Food and Nutrition Service reports that Massachusetts has one of the lowest percent of “categorically eligible children” certified for free school meals for the school year 2009-2010. “Categorically eligible” children are children who participate in the SNAP program or live in a household that receives SNAP benefits. The USDA FNS report is available at:

REMINDER: The November Food SNAP Coalition Meeting is Tuesday, November 30th from 10 to Noon. FNS Regional Administrator James Arena DeRosa will be joining us for this meeting. This will be the LAST Food SNAP Coalition meeting for 2010. An agenda will go out under separate email.

The following are address three important food/SNAP issues swirling around the country and the Commonwealth:

1) The Food Stamp/SNAP soda controversy:

A few miscellaneous updates for you--

There are TWO different Food Stamp/SNAP policies that affect persons with disabilities who are unable to purchase and prepare their own food. One rule affects persons who live and share food with other persons and who are both disabled and elderly. In this case, to qualify for separate SNAP benefits, the disabled person must age 60 or older, and must live with persons whose gross income is below 165% of the poverty level (this requires the other household members share information about their income).

1. Heat and Eat (H-EAT) update: Twice a year, DTA reviews the FS/SNAP caseload to identify SNAP households that are not receiving the heating/cooling standard utility allowance (SUA) in the calculation of their SNAP benefits. The heating/cooling SUA, added to rent or mortgage, can result in higher SNAP benefits.

This is a reminder that the next Boston meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, October 26th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor.

A tentative AGENDA includes the following:

* Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Update on efforts to pass a child nutrition bill during "lame duck" session but protect SNAP funding from being raided.

As Coalition members know, over the past year we have received complaints throughout the state that a number of local food pantries were requiring households to produce photo IDs as a condition of food distribution. The demand for a photo ID was affecting a wide range of low income persons - both U.S. citizens and immigrants alike - who lacked a photo ID due to homelessness, theft, domestic violence, fear of showing expired documents, or simply lack of any photo ID even though they had other forms of identification.

At the October 6th Western Massachusetts Food SNAP Coalition meeting, a number of community groups noted that SNAP/Food Stamp applicants are still being asked for proof of shelter expenses (rent or home ownership) even though the shelter cost information provided by the household is not questionable. A number of Coalition members also noted that the Virtual Gateway SNAP application has no question that allows a household to claim shelter costs, child care or other expenses and asked for a sample form clients could use.