Earlier this month President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2017 budget, which outlines his aspirations for his final year in office. Although the Senate and House budget committees have both rejected the budget sight unseen, it includes vital support for federal nutrition programs and reinforces the Administration’s commitment to ending hunger in America. Here are some key food security provisions:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Grocery credits to families and individuals to purchase foods through the SNAP program lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2014.
- $81.69 billion to support anticipated caseload of 44.5 million participants
- $10 million to help states streamline application processes for the elderly
- $7 million more for state Employment & Training technical assistance and data reporting systems
- $3.8 million more to improve compliance with quality control and data reporting procedures
- $2 million to continue the SNAP Nutrition Education Center for Excellence
- $1.2 million for technical assistance for states implementing Nutrition Education programs
Summer Child Nutrition Programs: Of the nearly 22 million children that receive free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, only about 16% participate in summer nutrition programs.
- $26 million to continue existing summer grocery credits (EBT) demonstration projects
- $12 billion over 10 years to expand summer grocery credits (EBT) nationwide through the SNAP program
- $10 million for a non-congregate meals summer demonstration pilot
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children that participate in the WIC program receive more prenatal care, save in health care costs, and experience improved infant health and nutrition outcomes.
- $6.35 billion to support an anticipated caseload of 8.1 million participants
- $80 million for Breastfeeding Peer Counseling
- $75 million to shift from WIC coupons to WIC Electronic Benefit Transfer systems
- $17 million for WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
School Meals: Research shows that well-fed children have improved cognitive function, academic achievement, and in-class behavior. In 2013, 21.5 million children received free and reduced-price lunches through the National School Lunch Program.
- $10 million for school meals direct certification grant expansion
- $35 million in school equipment grants to enable school districts to build their capacity to prepare meals on-site that are healthier and more cost-effective
Senior Hunger: In 2013, 5.4 million Americans over the age of 60 were food insecure, which seriously increases their risk for chronic health conditions.
- $21 million for Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
- $850 million for Aging Nutrition Services programs administration
Commodity Programs: In recent years, USDA Commodity donations to food banks have become increasingly important as other supports, such as private food donations, have not kept pace with growing need.
- $236 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which serves elderly individuals
- $299 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities
- $59 million for TEFAP storage and transportation grants
The Food Bank commends the president for his commitment to ending hunger and asks Congress to fairly consider this budget. Poverty is an unavoidable issue that impacts both sides of the isle, and we hope that members of Congress will work in the interests of their constituents by making these suggested investments in American food security.
Carly Finkle is the Advocacy Manager for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and can be reached at email@example.com.