PUBLIC BENEFITS: FOOD/NUTRITION


The center focuses on health care access, immigrants' access to services, food and nutrition, the state's eligibility and enrollment system, and TANF.

Recent Food/Nutrition Publications

Texas Schools Lead Nation in Providing Meals to Children (12/11/2007)
Ninety-nine percent of Texas schools participate in the national School Breakfast Program, ranking Texas 7th best in the country, according to a report released today by the national Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The report, School Breakfast Scorecard 2007, also finds that more than a million low-income Texas children are eating breakfast at school. Despite its relative success compared to other states, there is room for expansion. For every 100 low-income children that participated in the School Lunch Program in Texas, only 53 also ate breakfast.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Farm Bill “Cloture” Vote In Senate Tomorrow (12/6/2007)
Your calls to Senators Hutchison and Cornyn are urgently needed now in support of a new motion to force the Senate to finish its work on the 2007 Farm Bill and pass a Farm Bill with a strong nutrition title as soon as possible in December. The bill has been stalled over disagreements on the number and types of amendments that will be in order. A key vote to break the stalemate is set for tomorrow, December 7th. Starting today and until the cloture vote on Friday, December 7th, call your Senators and urge a “yes” vote on the cloture motion on the 2007 Farm Bill. Hungry people can’t wait.

WIC Funding Crisis: Urgent Action Needed (12/4/2007)
If Congress does not provide sufficient funding for the WIC program before they go home for the December holidays, more than 56,000 low-income mothers and young children may be cut from the WIC program in Texas. Congress is developing an omnibus appropriations bill that would represent a compromise between the lower amount of spending requested by the President and the higher level approved by Congress for various programs. WIC is one of the programs that would be cut under this compromise. Please call your Senators and Representatives in their Washington, D.C. offices immediately.

The Food Stamp Program is Turning 30: Let's Make This Birthday a Happy One! (10/1/2007)
For 30 years, the Food Stamp Program has ensured that low-income Americans have the means to afford a healthy diet--strengthening families, communities, and the nation. Today, more than 2.3 million low-income Texans--most of them children, seniors, or someone with a disability--use Food Stamps to supplement their food budgets. However, cuts to the program 10 years ago have reduced the purchasing power of Food Stamps, making it harder for families to afford an adequate diet. The average family now receives only $3 per person per day for food. We can help prevent hunger by strengthening the Food Stamp Program. Act now by asking our senators to support a modest increase in the Food Stamp benefit in the 2007 Farm Bill.

Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day, but Not on the Schedule for Many Students (08/7/2007)
Kids need pens and notebooks to get through the school day, but they also need a healthy breakfast. Yet, a new report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in Washington, D.C., finds that in many large urban school districts, including the Houston Independent School District (HISD), most of their low-income students are not getting breakfast on a daily basis. HISD is working to change that by making breakfast part of the school day with its “First Class Breakfast” program.

Amid Controversy, Farm Bill Set for a House Vote Today (07/26/2007)
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the 2007 Farm Bill (H.R. 2419), which includes $4 billion over five years in improvements in the Food Stamp and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Texas would receive an additional $278 million dollars over the next five years. However, controversy over how to pay for the new investments may delay passage of the bill. In Texas, 2.3 million people"over 10% of the state’s population"rely on Food Stamps to afford an adequate diet. More than half of these recipients would see an increase in their Food Stamp benefits as a result of the farm bill’s increased investment in the program. Texas receives almost $2.5 billion per year in federal funding for Food Stamps, providing a significant boost to the state’s economy.

Farm Bill to be Marked Up Tomorrow: What You Can Do Today! (07/16/2007)
Starting tomorrow, the House Agriculture Committee will begin mark up on the 2007 Farm Bill. One of the most important issues in this year's Farm Bill is the future of the Food Stamp Program, which 2.3 million Texans rely on every day. Unfortunately, because of cuts made 10 years ago, the Food Stamp Program’s buying power has diminished every year. The bill to be considered tomorrow includes a $20 billion “reserve fund” to undo these cuts and increase investment in other areas of the Farm Bill, but the financing needed to make these changes in the FY 2008 Budget has not yet been identified. A straight reauthorization of the Farm Bill"with no new money for the Food Stamp Program"is essentially a cut to the program. Call your congressperson today and urge him/her to support Chairman Peterson’s “mark” and make greater investments in the Food Stamp Program.

The Texas Food Stamp Program (07/1/2007)
Get valuable background on the Texas Food Stamp Program.

Act Now: The Farm Bill is on the Table (06/11/2007)
This week the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee is expected to mark up the nutrition title of the Farm Bill. One of the most important issues Congress will address in this year's Farm Bill is the future of the Food Stamp Program, which 2.3 million Texans rely on every day. Please call your Congressperson TODAY and ask him to co-sponsor the “Feeding America’s Families Act” (H.R. 2129.

Report: Hunger Costs Texas $9 Billion a Year; This Hunger Awareness Day, Too Many Texas Kids at Risk of Hunger (06/5/2007)
According to a report released today, Hunger Awareness Day, hunger doesn’t just take a toll on the 1.3 million Texas families who experience food insecurity, but it costs the state more than $9 billion a year. The study, by the University Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, estimates this cost by calculating the annual cost for charity, illness and lowered productivity for the nation related to food insecurity. Children are at the highest risk of hunger, especially during the summer, when they can no longer eat breakfast and lunch at school. More than 2.1 million low-income Texas kids rely on free or reduced-priced meals during the school year.

Today: Fight Hunger by Making a Call! (05/22/2007)
In Texas, 2.3 million people rely on Food Stamps and more than 1.3 million people--the third highest in the nation--are food insecure. All day today, May 22, support a strong nutrition title in the 2007 Farm Bill by urging your U.S. senators and representative to support H.R. 2129.

Why the Farm Bill Matters for Texas (05/15/2007)
At the end of May, Congress will begin debating the 2007 Farm Bill, legislation that affects not just farmers, but the 2.3 million Texans who rely on Food Stamps to make ends meet. Statewide, 25% of Texas children receive Food Stamps. Nationally, roughly half of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 65 will use Food Stamps at some point in their lives when they fall on hard times. Due to program cuts in 1996, the purchasing power of Food Stamps has eroded. Families now get $40 less a month. This means that Food Stamp recipients get just $1 per meal per day, increasing their risk of running out of food before the end of the month or forcing them to buy cheaper, less healthy food. The 2007 Farm Bill is an opportunity to increase the value of Food Stamps. Read on to learn more about Food Stamp erosion and to get Food Stamp enrollment data by county.

Plenty of Food for Thought: Austin American-Statesman (05/13/2007)
Due to cuts in 1996, the purchasing power of Food Stamps has eroded. Food Stamp recipients now get just $1 per meal per day, which increases families’ risk of running out of food before the end of the month or forces them to buy cheaper, less healthy food. But don’t just take our word for it. For the week of May 15- May 21, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, the Capital Area Food Bank, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities challenge Central Texans to eat and drink only what $1 a meal"or $21 a week"can buy.

Testimony on Free School Lunch and Breakfast (04/17/2007)
Celia Hagert testified on CSHB 454 before the House Education Committee. CSHB 454 relates to the provision of free lunch and breakfast to all enrolled students in certain school districts and campuses.

Two Chances to Support Better Nutrition for Texans (04/16/2007)
The committee substitutes for House Bills 2629 (Senate companion: SB 1497 by Zaffirini) and House Bill 454 by Representative Eddie Rodriguez would improve the nutrition of low-income Texans. On April 17, CSHB 2629 has a hearing in the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee and CSHB 454 will be heard by the House Public Education Committee. Please contact the members of these committees and urge their support for these bills.

Testimony on a Pilot Program for Small Fresh Produce Retailers (04/11/2007)
Celia Hagert testified before the House Agriculture Committee on HB 2629, relating to a competitive grant pilot program for certain small retailers of fresh produce.

Comparing SB 1096 to SB 1861: Two Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches for Texas (04/9/2007)
Texas is facing greater challenges in meeting federal requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as a result of new rules enacted by Congress in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 (DRA). Under the new federal rules, states are required to engage more TANF recipients in approved work activities or face financial penalties to their TANF block grants. SB 1096, by Senator Kyle Janek, is an attempt to help Texas meet these requirements, but it does so at the expense of the most vulnerable families. In contrast, SB 1861, by Senator Zaffirini, would increase work participation rates, protect vulnerable families, and improve the outcomes for families on and leaving welfare. This Policy Page analyzes the impact SB 1096 would have on TANF recipients and explains why SB 1861 is the better alternative to help Texas meet the federal requirements.

Support HB 854--Lift the Lifetime Ban on Food Stamps for Drug Felons (04/2/2007)
House Bill 854 by Representative Elliott Naishtat removes the lifetime ban on Food Stamps for people convicted of a drug felony. Please urge all members of the House Human Services Committee to support HB 854.

Support HB 75: Administrative Appeal of a Denial of Food Stamps or Medicaid (03/26/2007)
On March 22, House Bill 75 by Representative Elliott Naishtat was favorably voted from the House Human Services Committee. HB 75 authorizes a person denied Food Stamps or Medicaid to appeal the decision to state court. Next, HB 75 goes to the House Calendars Committee, which must decide whether and when to schedule the bill for a vote by the full House. We are asking for your help in ensuring that HB 75 gets on the House calendar as soon as possible. Please contact all members of the House Calendars Committee today and urge them to calendar HB 75 as soon as possible.

Testimony on HB 854 – Relating to the Eligibility of and Requirements Applicable to Certain Persons for Food Stamps (03/22/2007)
The Center for Public Policy Priorities supports HB 854 by Representative Naishtat, which removes the lifetime ban on Food Stamps for people convicted of a drug felony. Food stamps are 100% federally funded and can be a lifeline to ex-offenders in their attempts to rehabilitate themselves and reintegrate into society.

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