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A Church in Phoenix Opens its Doors to Access Food

A young SNAP recipient eats at the Help 4 Kidz Café while his parents apply for SNAP with the help of a volunteer case manager.

A young SNAP recipient eats at the Help 4 Kidz Café while his parents apply for SNAP with the help of a volunteer case manager.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

For families in Phoenix, Arizona, buying groceries through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and putting needed nutrition assistance on the kitchen table just got a little easier. Thanks to Reverend Eve Nuñez, a new SNAP access location opened earlier this spring to assist Phoenix’s Hispanic community apply for SNAP. Through the Help 4 Kidz organization and Love International Church, more than 700 families have already gotten help in putting food on the table. Read more »

USDA Celebrates North American Indian Days

Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.

Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.

The view of teepees and campers across the countryside, the enticing aroma of food and the distant beat of the drums were all part of the North American Indian Days celebration.  I was in Browning – home of the Blackfeet Nation to listen and learn about agriculture in Indian Country.  On the Blackfeet Nation there are 22,000 cows, 300,000 acres of grain crops, 17,000 acres of irrigated hay and grain, and over 360 Indian producers. Read more »

Missouri USDA Rural Development State Director Pitches in for Feds Feed Families Effort

USDA Rural Development State Director for Missouri Anita J. (Janie) Dunning with food donation to Feds Feed Families.

USDA Rural Development State Director for Missouri Anita J. (Janie) Dunning with food donation to Feds Feed Families.

The Feds Feed Families (FFF) drive is a great opportunity for all of us to give something to those who are less fortunate.  I accepted the challenge and went out Saturday morning and did some shopping and loaded up 285 pounds of food.   It was actually quite fun to think about what someone might like to have but even more importantly the smiles it will put on their faces when they have some food in their tummies. Read more »

USDA Tests New Bird Detection Technology

Recently, USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) scientists at the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) tested two new scare devices developed by private companies that include species recognition technologies─the Sonic Dissuader® and the Goose Guardian. The devices focus on pileated woodpeckers and Canada geese, aiming to prevent the damages caused by these two bird species. Read more »

Small Plant News: Rural Development Stands Ready to Assist Small Meat and Poultry Plants with Loans

[Editor's note: a version of this article was originally published in the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Small Plant News.  This post covers Rural Development loan programs available to small plants; an upcoming post will cover Rural Development grant programs.]

If you are a small packinghouse or processor and you want to expand, upgrade, or update your facility, assistance is available. As covered in the Volume 1, Number 3 issue of Small Plant News, USDA’s Rural Development is ready to offer assistance in the form of loans and grants, which this two-part series will examine. Read more »

Texas Hunger Initiative Joins Let’s Move Faith and Communities to Serve Summer Meals

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

As part of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama has challenged community and faith leaders to combat hunger. One of her goals for Let’s Move Faith and Communities is to encourage these trusted leaders to start 1,000 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites where kids can gather for a healthy meal when school is out. As faith and community leaders know, however, getting meals to hungry children is much easier said than done. That’s why the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) joined Let’s Move Faith and Communities: to help folks serve meals to the one in four children in Texas who don’t get enough to eat every summer.

THI, a Baylor University project that organizes communities to end hunger, rose to the First Lady’s challenge to start SFSP sites. And the communities in Texas need THI’s help; Texas has the second highest food insecurity rate in the country. Through their partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and local leaders, THI has increased meals served statewide by 2 million since last summer, the single largest increase in the U.S. Because of this partnership, Texas now serves more summer meals than any other state in the country. Read more »