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March 1st FS Coalition Meeting; State Budget Hearings; Dorchester FS/SNAP News

NEXT meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition: Tuesday March 1st  from 10 to noon.  This will count for the February Coalition meeting. We scheduled it for March 1st  because next week is school vacation week, presenting a conflict for many Coalition members. The Coalition meeting will be at ABCD, 178 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor in Boston.  The regular March meeting will be the last Tuesday in March - March 29th. An agenda will go out under separate email.

State Budget Update:  House and Senate Ways and Means have scheduled a series of hearings (open to the public) on the state FY2012 budget. Here is a link to a calendar of the upcoming hearings. Friday, March 4th, is the public hearing where community groups and individuals can testify on any budget issue or line item. Testimony from Patrick Administration officials started today with Administration and Finance and other constitutional offices. EOHHS agencies present on Friday and again on Wednesday the 23rd where DTA will testify. You are welcome to attend any and all of these hearings even though testimony is limited to the agencies until March 4th. However, they are an opportunity to talk with House and Senate Ways and Means members before and after the hearing, and deliver handwritten testimony. 

Dorchester Reporter Highlights Growth in Food Stamps: On February 10th, the Dorchester Reporter issued an extensive news report documenting that over 17,000 Dorchester residents have joined the food stamp/SNAP program in the pat 4 years.  The news story, “One-third of Dorchester households now use food stamps,” includes stories of individual recipients (elders, persons with disabilities, families with children, recently unemployed) who talk about the program and why it is important. See  http://www.dotnews.com/2011/dot-seeing-sharp-hike-use-food-stamps  

 It would be great to get similar stories in local news papers to reinforce the importance of this program both to protect it on a federal level and ensure sufficient DTA SNAP staff to process benefits. If you are interesting in getting your local paper to cover the growth in SNAP benefits and need help or data on that, let me know.  BIG THANKS to Coalition members who provided stories and information to the team of reporters and interns working on this story!