May 24, 2023

FRAC Releases Report on Community Eligibility Participation in 2022–2023

Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst

This week, FRAC released its annual report, Community Eligibility: The Key to Hunger-Free Schools, School Year 2022–2023, detailing participation in the Community Eligibility Provision among schools and districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The 2022–2023 school year marked the end of the pandemic-related child nutrition waivers that allowed schools across the country to offer meals to all their students at no charge since spring 2020. By providing healthy free school meals for all, these waivers ensured that all children, no matter their household income, could reap the academic and health benefits of school breakfast. Despite a strong call for these waivers to be extended through the 2022–2023 school year, many schools were forced to return to the tiered system of certifying children for free, reduced-price, or paid meals.

As schools transitioned back to normal operations for the 2022–2023 school year, community eligibility has facilitated this transition by allowing schools in high-need areas to continue providing free meals to all students without needing to collect applications. As a result, we have seen significant growth in community eligibility participation, which shows the commitment schools across the country have shown to finding ways to continue serving meals to all their students free of charge.

May 22, 2023

Supporting Older Adults in the Nation’s Capital During Older Americans Month

Throughout May, we recognize and support older adults during Older Americans Month. Older adults, defined as someone over 60 years old, make up a large portion of our nation’s capital, as well as a large portion of those experiencing food insecurity and utilizing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. According to the Food Research & Action Center, the District of Columbia has one of the highest rates of older adult food insecurity in the nation, with 12.8 percent of older adults experiencing food insecurity. Almost 22,000 of the District’s older adults participate in SNAP (around 16 percent of all SNAP participants).  
The D.C. Council recently passed three bills that would increase local support for older adults — the No Senior Hungry Omnibus Amendment Act, the Senior Nutrition, Health, and Well-Being Equity Amendment Act of 2022, and the Give SNAP a Raise Amendment Act.  

May 19, 2023

Food Insecurity Among Older Adults Is Often Invisible

Director of Root Causes and Specific Populations

In recognition of Older Americans Month this May, the Food Research & Action Center is releasing a two-part blog series on food insecurity among older adults. Part 1 focuses on food insecurity’s prevalence and risk factors that make older adults more likely to experience food insecurity. Part 2 will lift up the key role federal nutrition programs play in addressing food insecurity among older adults, as well as actions to take to mitigate hunger among older adults.

May 17, 2023

New SNAP Program Access Index Data Help in Identifying Factors for Better SNAP Performance

SNAP Director

Recently released national and state-by-state estimates of the degree to which the Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP) is reaching residents with lower incomes are a helpful tool for assessing the program’s reach and gaps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) SNAP Program Access Index (PAI) for 2021[i] indicates that on a national level SNAP is reaching over three in four (77 percent) residents who have incomes at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL), an improvement over the 2019 PAI of 70 percent.[ii]

May 15, 2023

Maryland’s 2023 Legislative Session: Amid Key Wins for Anti-Hunger Advocates, More Work Remains

Although it seems like 2023 has just begun, the Maryland legislative session for this year has already concluded. With only 90 days in the session, Maryland state legislators and advocates had to move quickly to introduce, negotiate, and pass key policies to avoid the risk of having to wait until the next legislative session. Maryland Hunger Solutions (MDHS) worked closely with our colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly and our advocacy partners on several anti-hunger- and anti-poverty-related bills this year, including legislation related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs.We are excited about the passage of three key anti-hunger bills this session.