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About foodbanknortheasttn

I am the community relations director for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee

2014 Map the Meal Gap Study Uncovers Hunger in Northeast Tennessee

Nation-wide Research Reveals Poverty to be Most Impactful to Consistent Food Access

Feeding America’s Annual Map the Meal Gap results released today show food insecurity continues to remain high in Northeast Tennessee . According to the newly released data, 14.8 percent of people in the area are food insecure, including 26,830 children.  Nationally, 15.9% of people are considered food insecure according to the study which also shows results state by state.  In Tennessee 17.1% of people are food insecure, above the national average.

Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life.  People with low food security say they are worried their food will run out, they cannot afford balanced meals, they cut the size of their meals or skipped meals.

“Studies like Map the Meal Gap 2014 allow Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee to continue to evaluate and adjust to the need in our area. The research data includes weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics and poverty levels which help us define the social issues plaguing our area and work together as a community to find a solution. Local key findings show the average cost of a meal is $2.77 and the weekly food-budget shortfall is $534,330. This means that 72,580 individuals may be food insecure in Northeast Tennessee.  The average number of people receiving food assistance from agencies and programs of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is 40,000 per month.

Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States. The information is provided in an interactive map that allows viewers to find out how widespread hunger is in their community. The map can be found at http://www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.

 

 

 

Research for the study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen.

 

“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”

 

The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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How will the Government Shut-down affect food banks?

The following is helpful, accurate information from Feeding America that was issued to Food Banks Oct 2, 2013.

• SNAP – SNAP has statutory authority to continue distributing benefits during October. This authority comes from ARRA, through which Congress provided “such sums as are necessary” to fund the temporary benefit boost. Additionally, about $2 billion in SNAP contingency funds are available and could be used to support state administrative activities to issue and process benefits. Contingency funds are provided in annual appropriations and do not expire until the end of FY2014. SNAP is providing about $6 billion per month in benefits, so unfortunately the contingency funds would not go very far if needed to help fund benefits.

• TEFAP Administration and CSFP-No additional funds would be available to support the Commodity Assistance Programs (CAP) including the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and administrative funding. While no new funding will be able, existing inventories can still be used. In addition, we expect that if and when funding is provided through a Continuing Resolution, it will be available retroactively, which would allow programs to cover their administrative costs retroactively.

• USDA has no legal authority to continue providing benefits under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children after Monday, but states may have money and legal authority to fund the assistance for a week or so. Some contingency funds for WIC also may be available, according to the agency, but there is not enough funding to mitigate a shortfall for the entire month.

• Child Nutrition Programs – School breakfast and lunch programs and meals provided in day care settings (CACFP) would continue into October. This is also true for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Special Milk Program. School meal program and CACFP providers are reimbursed for meals served 30 days after the end of the service month, so providers would not be paid for meals provided in October until the end of November. Most state agencies will continue to have FY13 funds available for state administrative expenses. State administrative expenses are awarded for a two-year grant period and states are permitted to carry over up to 20 percent of their allocation into the second year of the grant period.

• Senior Nutrition Programs – During a government shutdown, the Department of Health and Human Services will not be able to fund Senior Nutrition programs, which includes both home-delivered meals (Meals on Wheels) and senior congregate feeding programs. Local Meals on Wheels programs will not be affected immediately. Programs are generally reimbursed after meals are already delivered. However, if the government stays closed for a lengthy period of time, this will result in a direct financial loss for Meals on Wheels programs that receive federal funding. Additionally, state or local funding reserves that have been used to make up for sequestration cuts are likely depleted, so any cushion that may have been there to weather the shutdown is gone.

For more information, you can visit the USDA website: http://www.usda.gov/documents/usda-fns-shutdown-plan.pdf and http://www.hhs.gov/budget/fy2014/fy2014contingency_staffing_plan-rev2.pdf for HHHS

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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I Am ‘Those People’ — Why SNAP Matters to Me

Posted: 05/22/2013  5:41 pm                                                        

                                            

 
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                                                Farm Bill                                                                                                                                             ,                                                                                                                                                  SNAP Program                                                                                                                                             ,                                                                                                                                                  Food Stamps                                                                                                                                             ,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicago News                                

                    

37

                             

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Congress is debating the reauthorization of the Farm Bill this week — a bill chiefly (strangely) concerned with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps as the program is often called. And at a time when almost 48 million Americans receive SNAP (the largest number since the program started 50 years ago), some legislators, and perhaps more immediately head-desking to my daily existence, Facebook friends argue that the benefits are too generous and/or are not an effective use of “my tax dollars” (as though SNAP recipients were somehow magically exempt from paying taxes). There is a lot of talk about bootstraps, and drug tests, and responsibility. And sometimes I’m not sure whether or not I really have the energy to remind them that “those people” they keep debasing are my daughter and me. Sometimes I’m tired of suggesting that maybe they, who’ve never experienced needing SNAP, are perhaps not the most qualified to decide whether or not it’s a necessary program. Perhaps they are far away from understanding the good and necessary help the program brings to recipients. 

2013-05-22-IdaforSNAPpiece.jpgPictured: “those people”

In 2008, when I became unexpectedly (scientifically and statistically astoundingly, really) pregnant, I learned that I qualified for Medicaid and SNAP. I was working full time managing a café, and my husband was in graduate school. We thought about his taking a break from school to work full time, thus potentially circumnavigating our need for the benefits, but decided that with only a year to go and the dramatic increase in earning potential in his field if he finished, it made more sense for us (and for the larger economy, incidentally) to just try to squeak through that last year.

The SNAP benefits were our lifeline for a while. Not only could I afford to buy healthy food for my family, but I could also cook meals for others to trade for childcare so that I could go to work. Food became a currency in my life, because other currencies were not available to me. And believe me, I had to work for it. My family’s file — the sole source of our identification as approved recipients of SNAP and Medicaid — was deleted. Twice. We just vanished from the system, and along with us, hours of painstaking work to get qualified. If you’ve never lived through the nightmare that is applying for aid through the office of Children and Family Services, I wish you a lifetime of ignorance. It’s awful, and grueling, and demoralizing. And the fact that anyone would smugly be thinking,  “Good. It should be awful. That’ll teach ‘those people’ to work for their own and not mooch off the government” is evidence of the scariest human meanness. Because the truth is that most recipients of SNAP benefits are working. They’re working harder than you are.  They’re working much harder than I am presently. Ironically, nobody calls me lazy now.

“It must be nice to just charge whatever you want to the government,” quip Facebook acquaintances as they express their distain for the woman buying Cheetos with manicured nails and her SNAP benefits. No. It’s far from nice. In my experience, it’s a relief to feed your family, but pulling out your LINK card and seeing the person behind you immediately scrutinize your choices as you bag your food is humiliating. I distinctly remember wanting to scream “YES! I see that you disapprove of this box of funfetti cake mix! But it’s my daughter’s birthday and I am so busy working and otherwise bootstrapping that I can’t make a cake from scratch! Please stop being such a monster!” I remember feeling my face get hot as a clerk picked up the speakerphone to ask for a manager to approve my LINK card because the magnetic strip is demagnetized. em>

I can blissfully say, “I remember” because I don’t deal with these things anymore. My husband finished school, got a great job, and additionally started a business. The business is so successful now that he recently left his day job. I spend my billable hours raising our daughter, going to school, writing, and performing. I sometimes find myself thinking that it was almost worth going through such debilitating stress and lack of resources because now I truly appreciate each instance of there being enough. As most folks who’ve been through life-altering times of financial hardship will attest, I would do almost anything to avoid going through it again, but I value the perspective I gained in the process. Never in my life have I felt so profoundly that I am on the other side of something. SNAP was a crucial piece of the bridge I traveled across to get here.

We — the “those people” my ignorant Facebook acquaintances refer to; the folks perpetually “other-ed” by anti-SNAP politicians — are the poster family for how SNAP is supposed to work. We needed a modest amount of help for a short time (which is true of most SNAP recipients). And now, because we got the help we needed, we were able to dig ourselves out. Now it really is “my taxes” that are paying for somebody else’s cake mix. I’m personally delighted with this arrangement. I’ve never felt so lucky in my whole life.

And that’s the way it should feel to have enough resources to support those who don’t. That’s why we decided to live all together and make a union with a government and all that jazz — to be some kind of “us.” Aside from all of the expert analysis supporting SNAP as an incredibly effective form of economic stimulus, boon to public health, and a number of other things that are indisputably in everyone’s best interest, supporting SNAP is saying yes to the idea that we matter to each other on the most basic level. It’s saying that it’s not ever going to be okay with us that some kids get to eat breakfast and others don’t. Supporting SNAP is acknowledging that little bit of help that many of us need at one point or another in our lives to get to the other side of something. And if you’ve never been over there, on that “something” side with “those people,” I’d like to suggest that perhaps your opinions on the matter should be tempered with a little more listening and imagination. It was me. But it could have just as easily been you.

Liz Joynt SandbergArtist, Mother, Hotdog Enthusiast GET UPDATES FROM

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

A Food Stamp User Story

Artist, Mother, Hotdog Enthusiast

 
GET UPDATES FROM Liz Joynt Sandberg
 
 
 

I Am ‘Those People’ — Why SNAP Matters to Me

Posted: 05/22/2013  5:41 pm                                                        

                                            

 
Read more

                                    

 
                                                Farm Bill                                                                                                                                             ,                                                                                                                                                  SNAP Program                                                                                                                                             ,                                                                                                                                                  Food Stamps                                                                                                                                             ,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicago News                                

                    

37

                             

Get Chicago Alerts:

 

                   

               
            

Congress is debating the reauthorization of the Farm Bill this week — a bill chiefly (strangely) concerned with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps as the program is often called. And at a time when almost 48 million Americans receive SNAP (the largest number since the program started 50 years ago), some legislators, and perhaps more immediately head-desking to my daily existence, Facebook friends argue that the benefits are too generous and/or are not an effective use of “my tax dollars” (as though SNAP recipients were somehow magically exempt from paying taxes). There is a lot of talk about bootstraps, and drug tests, and responsibility. And sometimes I’m not sure whether or not I really have the energy to remind them that “those people” they keep debasing are my daughter and me. Sometimes I’m tired of suggesting that maybe they, who’ve never experienced needing SNAP, are perhaps not the most qualified to decide whether or not it’s a necessary program. Perhaps they are far away from understanding the good and necessary help the program brings to recipients. 

2013-05-22-IdaforSNAPpiece.jpgPictured: “those people”

In 2008, when I became unexpectedly (scientifically and statistically astoundingly, really) pregnant, I learned that I qualified for Medicaid and SNAP. I was working full time managing a café, and my husband was in graduate school. We thought about his taking a break from school to work full time, thus potentially circumnavigating our need for the benefits, but decided that with only a year to go and the dramatic increase in earning potential in his field if he finished, it made more sense for us (and for the larger economy, incidentally) to just try to squeak through that last year.

The SNAP benefits were our lifeline for a while. Not only could I afford to buy healthy food for my family, but I could also cook meals for others to trade for childcare so that I could go to work. Food became a currency in my life, because other currencies were not available to me. And believe me, I had to work for it. My family’s file — the sole source of our identification as approved recipients of SNAP and Medicaid — was deleted. Twice. We just vanished from the system, and along with us, hours of painstaking work to get qualified. If you’ve never lived through the nightmare that is applying for aid through the office of Children and Family Services, I wish you a lifetime of ignorance. It’s awful, and grueling, and demoralizing. And the fact that anyone would smugly be thinking,  “Good. It should be awful. That’ll teach ‘those people’ to work for their own and not mooch off the government” is evidence of the scariest human meanness. Because the truth is that most recipients of SNAP benefits are working. They’re working harder than you are.  They’re working much harder than I am presently. Ironically, nobody calls me lazy now.

“It must be nice to just charge whatever you want to the government,” quip Facebook acquaintances as they express their distain for the woman buying Cheetos with manicured nails and her SNAP benefits. No. It’s far from nice. In my experience, it’s a relief to feed your family, but pulling out your LINK card and seeing the person behind you immediately scrutinize your choices as you bag your food is humiliating. I distinctly remember wanting to scream “YES! I see that you disapprove of this box of funfetti cake mix! But it’s my daughter’s birthday and I am so busy working and otherwise bootstrapping that I can’t make a cake from scratch! Please stop being such a monster!” I remember feeling my face get hot as a clerk picked up the speakerphone to ask for a manager to approve my LINK card because the magnetic strip is demagnetized. I’d call to get it replaced but the last time I did that our file was deleted so please, give me a goddamn break!

I can blissfully say, “I remember” because I don’t deal with these things anymore. My husband finished school, got a great job, and additionally started a business. The business is so successful now that he recently left his day job. I spend my billable hours raising our daughter, going to school, writing, and performing. I sometimes find myself thinking that it was almost worth going through such debilitating stress and lack of resources because now I truly appreciate each instance of there being enough. As most folks who’ve been through life-altering times of financial hardship will attest, I would do almost anything to avoid going through it again, but I value the perspective I gained in the process. Never in my life have I felt so profoundly that I am on the other side of something. SNAP was a crucial piece of the bridge I traveled across to get here.

We — the “those people” my ignorant Facebook acquaintances refer to; the folks perpetually “other-ed” by anti-SNAP politicians — are the poster family for how SNAP is supposed to work. We needed a modest amount of help for a short time (which is true of most SNAP recipients). And now, because we got the help we needed, we were able to dig ourselves out. Now it really is “my taxes” that are paying for somebody else’s cake mix. I’m personally delighted with this arrangement. I’ve never felt so lucky in my whole life.

And that’s the way it should feel to have enough resources to support those who don’t. That’s why we decided to live all together and make a union with a government and all that jazz — to be some kind of “us.” Aside from all of the expert analysis supporting SNAP as an incredibly effective form of economic stimulus, boon to public health, and a number of other things that are indisputably in everyone’s best interest, supporting SNAP is saying yes to the idea that we matter to each other on the most basic level. It’s saying that it’s not ever going to be okay with us that some kids get to eat breakfast and others don’t. Supporting SNAP is acknowledging that little bit of help that many of us need at one point or another in our lives to get to the other side of something. And if you’ve never been over there, on that “something” side with “those people,” I’d like to suggest that perhaps your opinions on the matter should be tempered with a little more listening and imagination. It was me. But it could have just as easily been you.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Attend Travel Show to Support Second Harvest Food Bank

 

travel show aaa northeast tn second harvest food bank event food drive plan travel

Sunset in Acapulco

More than 20 travel companies will come together again for the AAA Cruise and Travel Show to offer hundreds of vacation possibilities, door prizes and travel deals on Saturday, February 9 from 12 – 4 p.m. at the Millennium Centre, Johnson City behind the Carnegie Hotel. AAA travel experts will be available to help you plan and book your dream vacation and answer any questions you have. Plus, you can register to win the grand prize, a Royal Caribbean Cruise.

100% of admission fees, $6 ($5 for AAA members), will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. Food Donations will also be accepted at the door.“The Cruise and Travel Show is a fun event with a great pay off- incredible deals and helping our community,” said Donna Ottinger, Field Travel Manager. The Food Bank is happy that AAA has chosen Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee again this year as the Charity to benefit from the travel show. AAA’s support through the years has helped us meet the need for food assistance in Northeast Tennessee.”

 

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Mobile Food Pantry Aids Northeast TN Seniors

Margaret, who is in her seventies, helped her husband farm for shares when he was alive. Now she survives on just over $400 a month in Social Security. When she can find the work and her health allows, she cleans houses to supplement her Social Security income. At times, she must choose between food and medications, rent or gas.Margaret’s story is increasingly common throughout the country and throughout Northeast Tennessee.

Feeding America has conducted extensive research on the issue and reported that the number of older adults is projected to increase by 36% over the next decade.  They also cite the fact that seniors are more likely to go hungry if they live in a southern state.  This finding is the due to the fact that southern states have rural areas with less access to communication and transportation networks than urban/metro areas.

Second Harvest Food Bank is well aware of this situation and has decided to take action through its Mobile Food Pantry program.  Bags of healthy, nutritious foods are distributed to needy seniors and families.  In fact, Mobile Food Pantry currently assists 470 seniors per month via its 33 sites.  For more information on the Mobile Food Pantry program, you may go to the Food Bank’s website or contact Austin Phillips at 423.477.4053, x. 225 or outreach@netfoodbank.org.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Food Bank Programs

 

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There Are Many Ways to Help Fight Hunger

ImageBecause of the giving nature of Northeast Tennessee citizens, the Food Bank is able to serve 38,000 individuals on a monthly basis.  We are also able to ensure that more than 4,100 children that are labeled as “chronically hungry” have nutritious food and snacks through our Food for Kids program

The Food Bank is grateful to all of our supporters who give their time, money, food or their voice to the effort of hunger relief. 

Even though September was Hunger Action Month, we thought that this blog post by Aimee Fortney was still appropriate.  The Food Bank greatly appreciates our volunteers and their commitment to service. 

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Student Food Drive Promotes Charity And Student Development

The Food Bank began its 5th annual Student Food Drive on October 2, 2012 with a Kick-Off Party for participating students.

Students and Advisors from area high schools have signed up to hold food drives and help raise food to feed people in the region with a food drive that runs from October 2 to November 8.  High school students challenge each other to participate in this challenge to receive cash awards based on school population and the amount of pounds of food collected per student.

The Student Food Drive accomplishes two goals – to participate in the immediate effort of collecting food and donating it to the Food Bank; and, to encourage young people to either start or enhance their commitment to volunteer service.  The Food Drive develops student leadership by challenging them to raise food, collect money to purchase food, and then find a way to deliver the food to the Food Bank. Last year over 38,000 pounds of food was collected by high school students in the region.

Supporters of the Food Bank are encouraged to support their local school’s efforts.  All high schools in the eight-county region that still wish to participate are encouraged to contact the Food Bank at (423)477-4053, x. 224 or donatefood@netfoodbank.org to sign up.

 

 

 
 

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Larger Facility Will Help Food Bank in Meeting Long-Term Goals

Image

The Board of Directors of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee announced at 11 AM on Friday, July 13, 2012 the purchase of a larger warehouse facility to accommodate the region’s critical need for food assistance.  The new headquarters is at 1027 Jericho Drive, off of I-81 at Exit 63 and is centrally located for the convenience of the Food Bank’s eight-county service area.

According to Executive Director Rhonda Chafin, the move is a key component of the Food Bank’s strategic plan.  “Simply put, the Food Bank has outgrown its current space.  In addition, the Food Bank has seen a 52 percent increase since 2007 in the number of households requiring emergency and supplemental food assistance, and the new facility will allow us to ensure that all of our partner agencies can effectively provide nutritious food to our most vulnerable individuals and families. “

Other benefits of the new location are that the Food Bank’s 200 partner agencies will have access to a larger inventory of food product, and the warehouse staff will be better equipped to accommodate the partner agencies.  The new facility will allow the organization to save funds by taking advantage of additional donated and purchased food.  Also, the new facility will allow for the formation of new programs and services to assist individuals receiving food assistance on a monthly basis. 

Some renovations will be needed to equip the new location for operations.  A cost-effective building renovation is being planned and includes a combination of in-kind donations and contracted work.  The Food Bank plans to secure financial support for these projects through private donations and other funding sources.  The relocation will take place sometime during Fiscal Year 2013.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Join Feeding America for a VIRTUAL TOWN HALL meeting today

Image Virtual Town Hall. Please be sure to join us (and invite your supporters) for a virtual town hall to discuss the latest Farm Bill news and talk about what we need to do to ensure the next Farm Bill protects and strengthens programs like TEFAP and SNAP.  Join Feeding America, Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, and other special guests on June 18 at 1:30 ET for an interactive conversation about the importance of a strong Farm Bill. Go to http://www.hungeractioncenter.org/vthregistration.aspx for more information.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized