USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) mission is to provide all eligible children, families, and low-income individuals with the nutrition assistance they need to help them get back on their feet. In order to accomplish this goal, we work with a vast network of partners who help us in the fight to end hunger. In particular, we are hoping to increase access to nutrition assistance in Hispanic communities through improved participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, our nation’s largest anti-hunger program.
In December, more than 120 Spanish-speaking community partners joined FNS as we hosted our very first all-Spanish webinar on the eligibility requirements for SNAP. In collaboration with USDA’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the webinar informed bilingual community leaders about SNAP policy, shared information about our work, resources, and tools that benefit Latino outreach, and answered questions regarding immigrants and SNAP eligibility. Read more »
A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
Despite having some of the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in New Jersey, the city of Perth Amboy refuses to let kids go hungry over the summer. In 2011 the city extended the Summer Food Service Program by two weeks and added 20 new feeding sites. Through an aggressive marketing effort using local newspapers, businesses, cable TV access programming and schools to advertise site locations and activities, Perth Amboy has made providing meals to kids when school’s out a top priority. Read more »
In the U.S., Hispanic households experience hunger at rates that are higher than the national average. According to USDA research, one out of every four Hispanic households in the U.S. is food insecure, compared with a national average of 15 percent. Hispanics also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program) at rates that are lower than the national average.
To call attention to this need to better reach the Latino population with access to nutrition assistance programs, USDA leadership participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference in Washington DC from July 23-25. President Obama also gave a keynote speech at the conference, which had about 2,000 attendees. Read more »
Last week, community leaders from all over the country visited Washington DC to join the White House for the first Hispanic Policy conference in our nation’s history. The goal was to get a dialogue going between administration officials and community leaders on an array of topics of particular interest to the Hispanic community. Some of the topics included jobs, education, immigration and energy. I had the honor of attending the conference on behalf of USDA.
The two-day event was coordinated and hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. 160 Hispanic leaders from 25 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico attended the discussion as well as over 100 administration officials. Read more »
On June 9th, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service kicked off the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) — “Food That’s In When School Is Out”, in Atlanta by visiting the Marietta Community Center in Marietta, Georgia as part of USDA’s first ever National SFSP Celebration Week. The Center provided free meals and a nutrition class on the new USDA MyPlate to 50 wonderful children, as feeding kids during the summer can pose a challenge to some parents when school meals are no longer available.
Although the SFSP program is completely dedicate to helping kids during the summer, when they are most vulnerable to experiencing hunger because school is out, our participation rate on this program is only 17%, but USDA is doing everything it can to get more meals to children during the summer months. We need to be sure that every child who should be receiving a summer meal gets one because no child should ever be going hungry. Although our National School Lunch Program is serving more than 21 million children during the school year, we are only serving 3 million children through SFSP, so clearly there is still a long way to go in reaching all the children who are eligible for this program, and we need everyone’s help to pitch in. Read more »
A Menominee girl enjoys the sackrace fun with her classmate friends.
More than 300 children joined the First Lady’s Office and other administration officials recently for the launch of Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC) on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. The event took place at the Keshena Woodland Bowl, where the children played and exercised outdoors after tribal leaders welcomed the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Office, White House Domestic Policy Council, and the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services. Read more »