Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 28th from 10-11:30 for the regular SNAP Coalition meeting. We will have a robust agenda, including updates from DTA on the increased SNAP benefits (beginning October 1!) and other updates.
FRAC Sign on letter Child Nutrition (deadline 9/27) & Project Bread Action Alert to MOCs
The House Build Back Better Act (BBA) is a historic investment in critically-needed anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs that would ensure children have access to the nutrition they need year-round during and after the impacts from the pandemic. It would make more school districts eligible for universal free meal status, boost federal reimbursements, extend free school meal status to children in “kinship” care, extend Summer EBT and more!
Please add your organization’s name to the Food Research and Action Center’s sign on letter – link HERE and see FRAC’s action alert BELOW. Deadline is Monday, September 27th by 5 PM. Let’s have a STRONG showing from MA!
In addition, Project Bread has created a terrific Action Alert to help you contact your individual Member of Congress (MOC) immediately and ask for their support of the child nutrition investments in the Build Back Better Act. Please click on THIS LINK (sponsored by Project Bread) to send an email to your MOC today asking them to “Build Back Better School Meal Systems.”
State House Hearing Sept 29th on Lift Our Kids, HIP, Cliff Effects & Other important bills
On Wednesday, September 29th starting at 10 AM, the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities is hosting a public hearing on 19 House/Senate bills including a number of important bills supported by SNAP Coalition members. Here are the top bills SNAP Coalition members are working on:
· An Act to lift kids out of deep poverty H.199 S. 96. (Boosting TAFDC and EAEDC benefits to the federal poverty level) Contact Naomi Meyer of GBLS and the Lift Our Kids Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org or Deborah Harris at MLRI email@example.com
· An Act concerning food insecurity and supporting the restaurant industry, H. 207/S.118 (to allow SNAP to purchase hot meals at certain restaurants) – Contact Gina Plata Nino, Central West Justice Center firstname.lastname@example.org
· An Act concerning public assistance for working families and the creating of a pilot program to address the impacts of the cliff effect. H. 208/S.119 – Contact Laura Sylvester, Food Bank of Western MA email@example.com
· An Act to protect safety net access for Massachusetts residents, H. 234/S.134 (re location and closing of DTA local offices). Contact Gina Plata-Nino, Central West Justice Center, firstname.lastname@example.org
· An Act Relative to an agricultural healthy incentives program (HIP); H. 250/S.108 – Contact Becca Miller at the MA Food Systems Collaborative email@example.com
You can give oral (remote) testimony if you register by Friday, September 24th and you can also submit written testimony before or after the hearings. Your written testimony can also reference multiple bills you are supporting. And members of the public can also tune in and watch the proceedings starting at 10 AM on the 29th – you can find the public link here.
Local access issues at DTA offices: Are your clients getting timely EBT cards?
MLRI and many Coalition members are concerned about DTA’s limited “reopening” of local DTA offices and the significant access barriers that needy households are facing. This includes households in emergency situations who need an immediate EBT card, call or go in person to a local DTA office and are turned away and told they must wait for an EBT card in the mail - even though they have no food or no reliable mailing address.
MLRI recently spoke with a homeless high school student who- until MLRI intervened – went without an EBT card (and no SNAP benefits) for 8 months! Let us know if you want to see MLRI's letter - redacted - sent to DTA Central regarding this case and recommendations. Please let Pat or Vicky know if you have any clients facing delays or barriers getting an EBT card.
Online EBT ordering data from MA: What are you seeing and next steps?
In August DTA shared with MLRI data on the number of online purchases made since online EBT went live the end of May 2020, for both SNAP and P-EBT benefits. Attached is DTA data we received in August that show roughly 2.5% of all EBT purchases (SNAP and P-EBT) were done online during June and July 2020. DTA and USDA have been working hard to onboard more EBT retailers, but this is still relatively a small initiative.
MLRI would appreciate hearing from Coalition members how online EBT is going for SNAP households and P-EBT families - including any barriers SNAP recipients have encountered, unexpected food packing or delivery fees, difficulty using the online portals, grocers excessively promoting higher-priced items in online portals, etc. In order for online EBT purchasing to work well for low-income consumers, it’s important to track this process and give the USDA EBT retailers’ division feedback on the challenges and possible improvements. For quick reference, here’s DTA’s website on SNAP online purchasing.
Domestic Violence & Coerced Debt Training – Sept 29th
Have your clients been forced to take out credit cards, loans or debt by an abusive partner or family member? They may have options to respond, learn more at a free zoom presentation for community providers on September 29, from 10:00 to 11:30.
For more info and to register, see https://www.
From: Ellen Teller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 21, 2021 at 10:33 AM