More than 112,000 Rio Grande Valley moms, infants and children depend on the nutritional benefits provided by WIC – the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Women, Infants and Children. The four counties that make up the Valley (Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy) have done a good job of identifying and serving nutritionally at-risk households using innovative outreach methods. They have caught the attention of USDA Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Max Finberg and USDA FNS Southwest Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig, who toured Hidalgo County’s main WIC clinic on April 11. Read more »
Matzah, the traditional flatbread eaten by Jewish people to commemorate Passover, decorated six circular tables, along with bitter herbs (maror), “mortar” for bricks (haroset), and green leafy vegetables (carpas). Around the tables, USDA employees, Administration officials, and a host of guests from the non-profit and Jewish community gathered to celebrate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Justice Passover Seder this week.
A traditional seder is a ceremonial Jewish meal commemorating the Passover holiday and Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt after being freed from slavery. Held in partnership with Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance, USDA’s modernized symbolic seder was held after Passover and focused on issues where food and justice intersect. Read more »
Cross-posted from the White House Blog.
On Monday, November 29th at 2:30 PM EST, First Lady Michelle Obama will join faith and community leaders on a conference call to launch Let’s Move Faith and Communities, as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign. Read more »
On March 19, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Deputy Administrator Lisa Pino traveled to Texas to meet with local leaders and members of the Rio Grande Valley community to talk about how to solve hunger issues in the area. FNS Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig and USDA Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Max Finberg also took part in the discussions.
The Rio Grande Valley meetings were the first in a series of “Community Roundtables” USDA will host in cities across the country. The roundtables are a key component of ending childhood hunger by 2015.
The first roundtable focused on the community at large. A second roundtable was held later that day with faith-based communities at the Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle-National Shrine.
Both roundtables were a success. FNS was able to solicit helpful feedback regarding how it can better work with the Rio Grande community to ensure eligible people participate in nutritional assistance programs, particularly the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP currently provides food assistance to 39 million low-income people across the country and is the nation’s largest anti-hunger program.
The 2000 census showed that 35 percent of the Rio Grande Valley population lived below the federal poverty level compared to 12 percent nationally.
South West Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig (holding the podium) is addressing 50 community leaders, anti-hunger advocates, faith-based groups, and food bank to discuss ways to ending childhood hunger by finding ways to increase participation in our programs