RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

Aside

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. 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

 
Leave a comment

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

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.

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
Aside

The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that guides and authorizes funding for most federal food and farm policies, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  Every five years, Congress votes to reauthorize funding the Farm Bill.  Anti-hunger advocates and hunger-relief organizations are closely watching this year’s reauthorization debate, as efforts are underway to either drastically cut some programs and/or completely eliminate them.

The most known programs in this debate are the SNAP and Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) - two programs that affect Americans earning below the poverty line.  In FY 2011, 45 million Americans received SNAP and 777 million pounds of food was distributed nationally through TEFAP.  In the eight county service area of Second Harvest, 99,473 individuals receive SNAP.

The US Senate is the first house of Congress to debate the legislation, and numerous amendments have been offered to either cut or eliminate SNAP and TEFAP.  In fact, the Senate recently defeated one such amendment that would have redistributed SNAP funding into block grants and eliminated TEFAP.  The amendment was defeated by a solid bi-partisan vote of 65-33. The US House of Representatives is expected to begin debate on these programs on Monday, June 18, 2012.

Urge your members of Congress to support programs such as SNAP and TEFAP that help many Tennesseeans and Americans who earn below the poverty line.

Farm Bill 2012: Key Legislation Impacts Millions of Americans

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Feeding America and the Ad Council Unveil New PSAs to Help

ConAgra Foods Foundation Funds Nationwide Awareness Campaign “Summer Isn’t Fun When You Are Hungry”  New public service advertisements (PSAs) released today by Feeding America and the Ad Council are designed to raise awareness of where families across the country can find free and nutritious meals for their children during the summer months  when school isn’t in session.  Entitled Summer Isn’t Fun When You Are Hungry the PSAs draw attention to the startling statistic that though more than 21 million children receive free and reduced price meals during the school year, only 2 million children access free meals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Programs in the summer.

“During the school year millions of children rely on free or reduced-priced school lunches. During the summer months, however, many parents don’t know where to turn to find that support. Lack of access to those meals means our children are spending their summer days thinking about food instead of enjoying everyday summer activities and adventures,” said Rhonda Chafin, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, “We have the programs to support this need, but we need to let our community know about them.”

The emotionally charged PSAs  leverage  TV, radio and outdoor advertisements in an effort to direct families in need to contact their local food bank for help or visit FeedingAmerica.org/SummerMeals to find more information on the program in their area. The campaign was created by San Francisco – based ad agency Cutwater, with production and distribution funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America’s Leadership Partner in the fight to end child hunger. The ConAgra Foods Foundation has been the first to fund many Feeding America initiatives, including the national expansion of the afterschool program “Kids’ Café,” “Map the Meal Gap” county-level child hunger data, and the expansion of the summer food service program “Hunger Free Summer”.

Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council, added: – “These PSAs will enable Feeding America food banks in Northeast Tennessee to provide families seamless access to meals throughout the summer months. We encourage media to support them so millions of children in can ‘stop worrying about food, and start focusing on fun’ this summer.”

This PSA campaign highlights the harsh reality that millions of children aren’t sure where they’ll get their next meal when the final school bell rings.  The PSAs clearly make the point that “summer isn’t fun when you’re hungry” by showing children sitting out of normal summer activities because they are hungry, wishing that they were back in school so that they could get a regular meal.

To view and share the new PSAs click here.

“As a father, I can’t imagine kids who would rather be in school or couldn’t participate in the simple joys of summer because they were hungry. Yet so many do,” said Chuck McBride, Founder and Executive Creative Director at Cutwater. “This simple, compelling truth was the foundation of our execution. All we had to do is tell that story and keep it real.”

Per the Ad Council model, the localized PSAs will run and air in advertising time that is donated by the media. These PSAs are part of the national Hunger Prevention campaign, which has received more than $135 million worth of donated media since its launch in November 2008. The campaign aims to increase the social consciousness of hunger in the U.S., while diminishing the stereotypes about those who are hungry in America.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

THANK YOU FOR A GREAT LETTER CARRIER’S FOOD DRIVE

LOCAL LETTER CARRIER’S FOOD DRIVE A HUGE SUCCESS!!

On Saturday, May 12, The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) held their Annual Food Drive called “Stamp Out Hunger”. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support received from the Northeast Tennessee community during the 2012 NALC Food Drive.

Over 100,000 pounds of food was collected during the food drive to help feed people in need in our region. The Food Bank thanks everyone who made a donation to the Food Drive.

We also want to thank the following groups who made the food drive a success:

  • AARP for supplying bags and helping promote the food drive
  • Local letter carriers for delivering cards and bags before the drive and collecting the food during their regular mail deliveries, and 
  • The great volunteers who helped collect the food.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,