Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Play

Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.

Play

Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.

Play

The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

Food Insecurity Looms Amid Inflation, End of COVID Era Supports

Play

Tuesday, December 27, 2022   

The issue of charity around meals is a common theme during the holidays, though this year the prospect of a sudden drop-off in federal benefits has hunger advocates worried.

The federal government's response to the pandemic saw Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits increased, so anyone in the program got the maximum benefit for their household size. The likely end of the current federal health emergency sometime next year will bring with it a reduction in food support for thousands of Marylanders.

The increased benefits have been one of the more enduring parts of federal government stimulus programs since the pandemic began.

Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, said the state has seen a large economic benefit from the program.

"Over the course of the pandemic more than $2 billion dollars has been spent in Maryland through the SNAP program," Wilson pointed out. "And if you think of the impact that has not just on low-income folks, but on grocery stores, on farmers markets, on corner stores, it's infused our entire economy."

Maryland Hunger Solutions estimates every dollar in SNAP benefits spent in the community generates $1.85 in local economic activity.

The SNAP program is revised in the Farm Bill, which is approved every five years and is due to be negotiated in Congress next year. Wilson sees the upcoming debate over the bill as an opportunity for advocates to educate legislators on issues of food insecurity and equity.

One example he cites is how SNAP recipients cannot buy a hot pizza or rotisserie chicken in a grocery store, but could buy frozen ones. Wilson wants to see the policy changed as it does not take into account people in different circumstances.

"There are some folks who may be seniors, who may be disabled, or who may be homeless and to tell them you have to buy the frozen chicken, and not the rotisserie chicken doesn't recognize the changes that exist in society or in the retail sector," Wilson contended.

In November the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the level of food price inflation at grocery stores to be at least 11% in 2022. While the forecast predicts inflation slowing in 2023, they anticipate grocery prices will still rise another 3% next year, and Wilson added people in need will continue to rely on a spirit of generosity.

"I want that spirit of charity to extend beyond just the holidays," Wilson remarked. "I want that spirit of charity to focus on how we can deal with food insecurity in a sustainable way, and not just a single meal, so that we can make sure that we really are focusing on addressing food insecurity."


get more stories like this via email
The VOTES Act also ensures the Commonwealth joins the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a multi-state consortium which aims to keep voter registration rolls up to date, encourage voter registration and prevent voter fraud. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting rights advocates in Massachusetts are applauding Governor Maura Healey's budgetary backing of new policies stemming from last year's passage of…


Environment

Climate-change groups are calling attention to the environmental destruction linked to the wood pellet industry - even as California is considering a …

Social Issues

Many Nebraskans know how crucial a family caregiver is to one of their family members. Now AARP research has put a dollar value on that unpaid care - …


Going back generations, many Indigenous cultures developed strong ties with bison and relied upon them for sustenance, shelter, and cultural and religious practices. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

South Dakota is home to one of the nation's largest American Indian reservations, and the area is part of a movement among tribal nations to take …

Health and Wellness

As the cost of food, medicine and rent continues to climb, new data shows the benefits miners receive are now 40% less than what they received in 1969…

Stedman farmer Demi Tucker has been growing mushrooms on her family's land for the past few years. (Demi Tucker)

Environment

With the cost of farmland up by more than 8% percent in North Carolina, the state's Black farmers are struggling to purchase additional acreage or …

Environment

By Zachary Shepherd and Kelsey Paulus for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Co…

Social Issues

Republican-sponsored bills and amendments in the Legislature would eliminate the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. More than 1.5-million …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021