FRAC turns 50! Since 1970, the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) has been the leading national organization working for more effective public and private policies to eradicate domestic hunger and undernutrition. Working alongside a national network of stakeholders, FRAC has been protecting and defending the federal nutrition programs through its research, analyses, technical assistance, and communications.
In January, Jim Weill stepped down as FRAC’s President after 21 years at its helm. In the same month, FRAC welcomed its new President, Luis Guardia.
Between January and March, the U.S. started to realize that the novel coronavirus was indeed a global health crisis. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the country, including FRAC. FRAC began by reaching out to the network to solidify support and partnership during the unstable time. Resources, webinars, virtual meetings, and more have been produced by FRAC to share timely information, guidance, and support; for example, updates on COVID-19 funding packages and the separate legislative and judicial actions that are protecting many unemployed and underemployed adults from time limits on their SNAP eligibility.
The year started with a federal government shutdown, which threatened millions of Americans’ access to the federal nutrition programs, so FRAC took numerous steps, such as releasing official statements and creating a toolkit, to advocate for ending the shutdown so that struggling households could access the federal nutrition programs. Alarmed by the proposed public charge rule, FRAC coordinated with its national network of partners, including Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF), to reject the proposed rule by providing a platform for partners and other advocates to submit comments. During this time, FRAC began serving as the nutrition lead on the steering committee for the PIF Campaign, which leads efforts against attacks on the nation’s health and well-being. All year long SNAP was constantly being challenged, so FRAC held firm on protecting SNAP from, for example, two proposed rule changes: Categorical Eligibility and the Standard Utility Allowance. FRAC again created comment platforms, replete with templates and other resources, for each. Child nutrition was also in the spotlight with the Child Nutrition Reauthorization due. FRAC authored numerous resources and partnered with other organizations to promote several proposed child nutrition bills and to reiterate why a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill is important for helping end childhood hunger.
FRAC’s ongoing advocacy efforts to protect and strengthen SNAP helped ensure that the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed in December, rejected harmful provisions that would have weakened this program. FRAC also strongly opposed a proposed public charge rule that would make it harder for immigrant families to access a range of nutrition, health, and human services programs. Under the proposed rule, SNAP is included as a public benefit that could trigger a public charge determination.
FRAC launches interactive data tools illustrating state and congressional district poverty rates and household SNAP participation rates (including county level data), enabling policymakers and advocates to better pinpoint the extent of poverty in their communities and to understand the important extent to which the federal nutrition programs are vital in the struggle against hunger and poverty in the U.S. The maps also show that SNAP matters in every community across the country, regardless of size or demographics, and especially in rural communities.
FRAC releases first-ever report analyzing breakfast participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs, showing that only 1.7 million low-income children received summer breakfast on an average weekday in July 2015 — barely half as many who ate summer lunch. The report sets an ambitious, but achievable, goal of reaching 70 children with summer breakfast through the Summer Nutrition Programs for every 100 participating in summer lunch.
FRAC reports that the latest research shows school meals improve food security, dietary intake, and weight outcomes.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and End Hunger Connecticut! received honors at FRAC’s 26th Annual Benefit Dinner.
FRAC supports new USDA rules for healthier meals and snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, an important step in addressing the nutritional shortfalls in our nation’s children’s diets and helping to tackle the nation’s obesity problem.
FRAC releases “A Plan of Action to End Hunger in America” featuring “Eight Essential Strategies to Ending Hunger,” including create jobs, raise wages, increase opportunity, and share prosperity; improve government income-support programs for struggling families; strengthen SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs; and build political will.
The Food & Agriculture Policy Collaborative, of which FRAC is a member, releases guide to Building Healthy Communities.
FRAC reports on the extent and causes of participation shifts in the National School Lunch Program.
FRAC’s Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation, its annual look at participation in summer meals, shows the first major increase in Summer Nutrition Program participation since 2008. The 2014 report shows a five-percent increase, largely due to concerted efforts by FRAC, USDA, and other national organizations to improve participation in this program.
FRAC leads the anti-hunger and anti-poverty communities in fighting back against Farm Bill proposals to weaken SNAP and in promoting implementation options that enhance program benefits and positive impacts.
New polling data from FRAC show deep support for ending hunger and strong opposition to cutting food assistance programs, including SNAP. Support for SNAP and efforts to end hunger cut across party lines.
FRAC spearheads the implementation of community eligibility in the first round of pilot states. Community eligibility, included in the 2010 child nutrition bill, will allow high-poverty school districts to serve free school meals to students. FRAC also supports the expansion of the Afterschool Meal Programs to every state. Both programs are the results of long-term advocacy by FRAC.
FRAC releases its first “food hardship” study, which looks at a household’s ability to afford enough food, and contains data for not just the nation but also for every congressional district. This unprecedented study finds that nearly one household in six says they struggled to afford enough food.
FRAC leads efforts to broaden low-income children’s access to healthy school lunch and breakfast, summer and afterschool meals, and child care food in the child nutrition reauthorization process.
FRAC launches FRAC Focus: Obesity and Poverty, a unique e-periodical highlighting issues at the intersection of hunger, poverty, and obesity in America.
FRAC marks its 40-year anniversary at the annual benefit dinner.
FRAC and allies obtain substantial improvements in refundable child tax credit rules that provide billions of dollars in help to low-income working families with children.
FRAC launches anti-recession website www.realstimulus.org and leads effort that obtains $20 billion in food stamp improvements in economic recovery act.
FRAC, state officials, elderly advocates, and other anti-hunger allies secure more than $10 billion in 10-year added funding in the 2008 Farm Bill for food stamps (now renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), including the first boost in the program’s minimum benefit in more than 30 years.
Congress enacts FRAC’s initiative to reform the summer food program nationwide, cutting red tape and increasing reimbursements to reach more children.
FRAC opens second state office, Maryland Hunger Solutions, to combat hunger and improve nutrition in the state.
FRAC and D.C. Hunger Solutions, along with Share Our Strength, launch ambitious Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in the Nation’s Capital.
FRAC issues School Wellness Policy and Practice: Meeting the Needs of Low-Income Students to focus benefits of the new federal wellness policy mandate on those most in need.
FRAC and allies successfully stop deep budget cuts in food stamps and other nutrition programs supporting low-income people.
FRAC leads efforts at the state and local level to implement important 2004 child nutrition and 2002 food stamp reauthorization gains.
FRAC, the Child Nutrition Forum, and allies obtain a child nutrition reauthorization law that strengthens school breakfast and lunch, summer food, child care food, and WIC programs.
FRAC launches D.C. Hunger Solutions to combat hunger and improve nutrition in the District of Columbia.
FRAC launches Weekly News Digest which becomes the basic news source for thousands of advocates and stakeholders around the country on developments in anti-hunger, anti-poverty, and related areas.
FRAC and anti-hunger and immigrant allies obtain further restoration of benefits for hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants, significantly improved access to benefits for working families, and other important improvements in the Food Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2002.
FRAC helps lead anti-poverty and anti-hunger groups in obtaining tens of billions of dollars in refundable tax credits for low-income working families with children in federal tax legislation.
FRAC leads campaign securing passage of provisions of the Hunger Relief Act to make the Food Stamp Program more responsive to working families and other hungry Americans, and secures legislation strengthening the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s nutrition benefits in family child care and afterschool programs.
FRAC obtains federal, state, and local administrative initiatives in food stamps to reverse the caseload decline among eligible people and make the program accessible to low-income working families.
FRAC joins other anti-hunger and immigrant groups in leading the successful drive to reverse a 1996 law and restore food stamp benefits to one-quarter of a million immigrant children, seniors, and refugees.
FRAC spearheads efforts that improve and expand afterschool food, school breakfast, and other programs in the 1998 child nutrition reauthorization legislation.
FRAC and national anti-hunger partners lead Hunger Has A Cure campaign, key pieces of which are included in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.
USDA and the Census Bureau release the first-ever government study of the number of hungry Americans, using methodology adapted from FRAC’s Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project surveys.
FRAC provides key leadership in the successful struggle to preserve the entitlement status of federal nutrition programs under assault in Congress.
FRAC organizes a national coalition, Save Our Nation’s Nutrition Programs, endorsed by 500 organizations across the country.
FRAC rallies support for important Food Stamp Program improvements in the Mickey Leland Childhood Hunger Relief Act, the most significant anti-hunger legislation since 1977.
Release of FRAC’s School Breakfast Scorecard brings nationwide attention to the fact that only one-third of the low-income children receiving school lunch also get school breakfast. The report’s release contributes to passage of state mandates requiring schools with a high proportion of low-income students to serve breakfast.
FRAC launches the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger.
FRAC releases the most comprehensive nationwide study of childhood hunger ever conducted — the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project —which estimates that 1 in 8 children under the age of 12 in this country is hungry.
FRAC marks 20 years of fighting hunger with its first annual dinner – honoring House Speaker Thomas Foley and Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole. Both express their commitment to ending domestic hunger and pay tribute to FRAC’s contributions to this cause.
FRAC releases Feeding the Other Half, documenting the serious consequences of inadequate nutrition for low-income women, infants, and children eligible for, but not served by, WIC. The report is instrumental in gaining a significant funding boost for WIC.
FRAC’s research and lobbying are central to the enactment of the Child Nutrition Amendments of 1989, which expand the availability of meals for low-income children in the summer and provide incentives for school breakfast expansion.
FRAC’s Fuel for Excellence, a guide to the School Breakfast Program, is the launching pad for a multi-year National School Breakfast Expansion Campaign with 70 national partners.
FRAC issues The Widening Gap — a report documenting the increasing disparity between black and white infant death rates in the United States. It focuses public attention on the relationship between infant mortality and poor nutrition among low-income mothers.
FRAC’s policy analysis, testimony, and leadership of the nationwide anti-hunger network play a key role in blunting the effect of proposals for massive cutbacks in nutrition programs.
FRAC leads the way in publicizing a proposed USDA school lunch regulation that would reduce portion sizes and allow ketchup and pickle relish to be counted toward meeting vegetable requirements. “Ketchup as a vegetable” becomes a national issue, and FRAC coordinates a successful campaign to have the regulation withdrawn.
Research and policy recommendations by FRAC play a key role in passage of the Child Nutrition Amendments of 1978, which greatly expand the WIC and School Breakfast Programs.
FRAC’s research and field network play a crucial role in the adoption of the landmark Food Stamp Act of 1977, which improves access to the program for millions.
FRAC wins a court order to release $35 million in funds impounded from the Elderly Feeding Program. The released funds are used to increase the number of people served.
Litigation by FRAC leads to the release of funds impounded from the WIC program. This victory launches rapid growth in the program and WIC’s eventual nationwide reach.
FRAC wins two lawsuits in the United States Supreme Court that prevent exclusion of thousands of participants from the Food Stamp Program.
FRAC is founded in New York City. FRAC pursues lawsuits in 26 states that ultimately lead to a requirement that every state must operate in all counties either a food stamp or a commodity distribution program to feed the poor.