Globe Op Ed: Food insecurity is on the decrease, but a return to ‘normal’ is not an option.
Huge kudos Erin McAleer, ED Project Bread for her powerful Op Ed in yesterday’s Boston Globe. Please amplify this Op Ed in your social media and networks with Erin’s calls to action in her Op Ed below:
At the federal level, it’s crucial to make permanent many of the changes that have been made during COVID, like the 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits, and EBT cards for kids when out of school. SNAP should be available for all families in need, including immigrants, which is why the five-year waiting period to access SNAP for eligible immigrants should be eliminated.
At the state level, efforts to connect people to nutrition programs must continue. Passing legislation to close the SNAP Gap would be a huge step, streamlining the process of accessing these programs through a common application. There is also School Meals for All, recently filed legislation that would be the first in the nation to allow every student who wants or needs a school breakfast or lunch to receive it at no cost to their family and with no requirement to sign up or provide income or other information.
Federal Legislation Expanding SNAP for Students:
New EATS Act Organizational Sign-On Form: Here is a link to a new organizational sign-on form for the Enhanced Access To SNAP Act of 2021 (EATS Act) sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), This bill would fully eliminate the SNAP work-for-food rules for college students. If you’ve signed onto our previous form, please fill this new one out as well. The MA Hunger Free Campus Coalition is hoping to get a strong showing from Massachusetts – so please sign on!
New England Council hosting a Zoom Meeting on June 16th with Senator Warren’s staff on her recently filed Student Food Security Act.
The New England Council’s Higher Education Committee is hosting a zoom meeting with Abby McCartney, Legislative Assistant to Senator Elizabeth Warren, to discuss the Student Food Security Act. Senator Warren introduced the Student Food Security Act in May. The bill would make permanent the temporary expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to low-income college students – notably SNAP for students who are eligible for work study, have a $0 “expected family contribution,” meet the financial eligibility for a maximum Pell Grant (even if not filed a FAFSA), or are an independent student. It would also collect data on food insecurity on college campuses. A copy of the bill, Senate 1569, and current co-sponsors is HERE. The zoom presentation is Wednesday, June 16 at 2:00pm. You can RSVP Here
State Legislation to Expand FAFSA Applications:
Written or Oral Testimony to Support Rep. Vargas’ FAFSA Bill: State Rep. Andy Vargas (House Lead on School Meal Debt and Hunger Free Campus Bill), has filed legislation that would require Massachusetts students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before graduation in order to make college a more affordable option for students. (The bill allows students and parents to opt out). Approximately 30% of students who do not complete the FAFSA would have been eligible for a Pell Grant.
The hearing for the bill, H.1367, is this coming Tuesday, June 8. If you would like to sign up to testify in support of this bill, sign up at this link by 5 pm today. If you would like to submit written testimony, you have more time. You email your testimony to the Joint Committee on Higher Education Staff next week (or any time before the bill has an Executive Session) to House staffer Rosalind Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Senate staffer Yael Langer (email@example.com). A bill fact sheet is attached as well.