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Upcoming Food SNAP Coalition on July 28th; Follow up from SNAP Elder Working Group; Good news on MEFAP funding !

1. Boston SNAP Coalition on Tuesday, July 28th:


This is a reminder that our next SNAP Coalition meeting is July 28 from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston, 39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor. There is NO Coalition meeting in August.  The SNAP Coalition agenda will include:
 
  • a WARM WELCOME to new SNAP Director Lauren Arms Ledwith and her new staff (For those of you who do not know her, Lauren worked at DTA years ago with Phuoc Cao, has been the SNAP Nutrition Benefits Consultant at UMass Medical, oversees SNAP Outreach and SNAP ET contracts, and is absolutely hands-down a terrific choice for the DTA SNAP Director position!)
  • an update from the Elder SNAP Working Group and DTA staff on recommendations from July 16th meeting (see below)
  • an update from DTA on improvements in the DTA Assistance Line, case processing, response to USDA Corrective Action Plan and ongoing discussion with SNAP Coalition members on local case access barriers, delayed EBT cards, lost documents, lost applications - please continue to document and report what you are seeing!
  • discussion of the upcoming ABAWD implementation challenges (January 2016), process for screening for exemptions and doing outreach to community partners who work with homeless, unemployed individuals
  • refresher on SNAP college student eligibility rules before new school year starts
  • update on federal SNAP issues looming on the horizon  
REMINDER: FRAC is hosting a webinar at 1 PM on July 28th focused on Disability, Food Insecurity, and SNAP: Addressing the needs of Americans with Disabilities.  If you want to register and listen in at 1 PM that afternoon (we can offer computer space at MLRI for viewing), go here: https://frac.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=44772
 

2.  SNAP Elder Working Group update:

 
The SNAP Elder Working Group had an excellent meeting with EOEA Secretary Alice Bonner and DTA Commissioner Jeffrey McCue on Thursday, July 16th. Thanks to all of you who attended!  Attached you will find a follow up email to Commissioner McCue and Secretary Bonner and their staff summarizing the Elder Working Group recommendations at the meeting, at the request of both the Commissioner and the Secretary. 
 
Also attached is the updated MLRI "benchmarks" chart for the standard medical expense deduction (e.g. when it is worth the client's while to provide medical expense information).  For more on the SNAP medical expense deduction, see our webpage here: /content/food-stamps-snap-and-medical-expense-deduction
 

3. Reminder re National Hunger Commission hearing on July 30th in Portland ME:

 
If you are interested in attending, or providing written testimony, there is still time. It is possible the public testimony section is full (we do not know for sure), but there is NO limit to attending and/or submitting written testimony. See link HERE: https://hungercommission.rti.org/ 
 
The purpose of this National Hunger Commission is to make recommendations to Congress on food security and "effective use" of SNAP. (It is not for the purpose of reviewing botched "modernization" efforts in individual states that have lead to caseload decline, so we do not recommend you go there in your testimony).  It would be great if your testimony could focus on why SNAP is important to your clients and their health, why it is cost effective in providing critical nutrition benefits to families with children, seniors and persons with disabilities; a stimulus to local grocers and the local economy; and why the Commission should recommend Congress support and defend the Nation's key responses to hunger in America!  If you need help drafting written testimony or wish me to hand deliver it for you, please let me know. Client stories of how SNAP has made a difference are especially powerful!
 

4. MEFAP funding update:

 
Our Massachusetts Food Bank colleagues are excited to report that funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) was increased to $17 million. According to an eblast from the FBWM, on Friday, July 17, Governor Baker signed off on the final FY16 Massachusetts budget, officially marking a $2 million increase over last year. This added funding will help the four food banks in Massachusetts provide an additional 2.8 million meals to our neighbors in need. 
 
Many of you sent emails and letters, made phone calls, and met with your Representative and Senators. Your hard work paid off. Thank you for all that you did!  Please help us say "thank you" to our legislators. They made a strong commitment to the Commonwealth's emergency food system and they should know how grateful we are. Please be sure to reach out.

How to contact your Legislators:  

Find your State Senator and Representative by visiting
www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com .

You can also call your legislators at the State House switchboard by dialing 617-722-2000 and asking for your Senator or Representative by name.