What Are the Benefits of the SNAP Program?

Last week, we joined MomsRising for their regular #FoodFri Twitter chat. The topic for this chat: the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, for American families. We joined as co-hosts with our friends at Food Resource Action Center (FRAC), and the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.

Below are NCLR highlights from the chat. Join MomsRising for their #FoodFri chat every Friday at 1 pm ET.


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What Are the Benefits of Eating Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables?

By Elizabeth Carrillo, MPH, Project Coordinator, NCLR Institute for Hispanic Health

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The air is warmer, the sky is bluer, and the sun is brighter and out longer. Indeed, summer is upon us. The season means more outdoor activities and gatherings with family and friends, more barbecues or cookouts, and more opportunities to soak in some vitamin D directly from the sun.

It also means an array of fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle of our local grocery store, farmers market, community garden, or perhaps, in our own backyard—and not just any array—an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Consuming fruit and vegetables is great for our health, as they provide our bodies with essential vitamins and nutrients, and help lower our risk of certain cancers.

Yet, consuming fruit and vegetables at their peak harvest point, in their freshest state, well, the flavor is simply better.

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How Federal Nutrition Programs Impact Latino Children and Families

There are 4.7 million Latino children living in families that struggle to consistently put food on the table. Latinos also face increased risk of developing a chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease. March marks National Nutrition Month, and it gives us an opportunity to highlight important federal efforts to address hunger, improve access to healthy and nutritious food, and increase the ability for America’s children and families to live healthier lives.

In particular, federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and child nutrition programs, like school meals, are especially critical for the health and well-being of the Latino community. To help you better understand these federal programs, we’ve put together an update on them, as well as the impact these new developments could have on the health of families and communities around the country.

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Weekly Washington Outlook — November 16, 2015

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House will vote on Monday on legislation under suspension of the rules:

H.R. 308 – Keep the Promise Act (Sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks / Natural Resources Committee)

]H.R. 1694 – Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

H.R. 3114 – To provide funds to the Army Corps of Engineers to hire veterans and members of the Armed Forces to assist the Corps with curation and historic preservation activities, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Grace Napolitano / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

H.R. 1073 – Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks / Homeland Security Committee)

H.R. 3144 – Partners for Aviation Security Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne / Homeland Security Committee)

H.R. 1338 – Dignified Interment of Our Veterans Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

H.R. 1384 – Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walz / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

S. 599 – Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act, as amended (Sponsored by Sen. Cardin / Energy and Commerce Committee)

S. 799 – Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 2583 – Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden / Energy and Commerce Committee)

Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2262 – SPACE Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

H.R. 1317 – To amend the Commodity Exchange Act and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to specify how clearing requirements apply to certain affiliate transactions, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore / Financial Services Committee)

H.R. 3032 – Securities and Exchange Commission Reporting Modernization Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema / Financial Services Committee)

S. 2036 – Equity in Government Compensation Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. David Vitter / Financial Services Committee)

H.R. 1478 – Policyholder Protection Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey / Financial Services Committee)

Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 208 – RISE After Disaster Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Nydia Velázquez / Small Business Committee)

In addition, the House may consider a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund.

On Tuesday, the House will vote on H.R. 511 – Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Todd Rokita / Education and the Workforce Committee).  The House will also vote on a motion to go to conference on legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

On Wednesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following:

H.R. 1737 – Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta / Financial Services Committee)

H.R. 1210 – Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr / Financial Services Committee)

H.R. 3189 – FORM Act of 2015, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)

Senate: On Monday afternoon, the Senate will consider a judicial nomination.  Later in the week, the chamber will take up legislation blocking two Environmental Protection Agency Regulations, S. J. Res. 23 and S. J. Res. 24.  

On Wednesday, the Senate has scheduled a procedural vote on S. 2193, sponsored by Sen. Cruz (R-TX).  The legislation would establish new mandatory minimum sentences for illegal re-entry into the United States.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend a G20 meeting on financial regulation, international tax, anti-corruption, and a G20 working lunch on trade, energy and the adoption of the Communique and Antalya Action Plan. In the evening, President Obama will hold a press conference before departing Turkey en route Manila, Philippines.

On Tuesday, the president will arrive in Manila, Philippines. In the afternoon, President Obama will tour the BRP Gregorio del Pilar. In the afternoon, the president will also participate in a meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the Commonwealth of Australia.

On Wednesday, the president will hold a meeting with President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines. Later in the morning, President Obama will deliver remarks at a CEO Summit. In the afternoon, the president will take a family photo and participate in a meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the leaders of the TPP countries. Later in the afternoon, President Obama will participate in a Pacific Alliance meeting. In the evening, the President will participate in an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) family photo and attend an APEC welcome dinner and cultural performance.

On Thursday, the president will participate in the APEC family photo and the opening session of the APEC retreat on inclusive growth through integrated economics. In the afternoon, the President will participate in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and attend the second session of the APEC retreat on sustainable and resilient communities. In the evening, President Obama will participate in a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

On Friday, the president will depart the Philippines en route Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In Malaysia, President Obama will participate in a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) town hall.

On Saturday, while in Malaysia, the president will deliver remarks at the ASEAN business and investment summit. In the afternoon, President Obama will tour the Dignity for Children Foundation. Following the tour, the president will participate in a Civil Society roundtable at the Ritz Carlton and in the evening, President Obama participates in a US-ASEAN meeting. The president will also participate in a pull aside with Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Later in the evening President Obama will attend and participate in a family photo and the EAS gala dinner at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

On Sunday, the president will participate in an East Asia Summit family photo and meeting. In the afternoon, President Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of the Republic of Singapore. Later in the afternoon, the president will hold a press conference, before departing Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia en route Yokota, Japan on the way back to Washington.

Also this Week:

Education – This week, the House and Senate will appoint conferees to a committee to reconcile differences in House and Senate versions of legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (last rewritten as No Child Left Behind).  The conference committee is expected to meet on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday and final legislation is expected in both chambers sometime in early December. Informal negotiations have been ongoing since the summer, leading to an agreement on a framework announced late last week. In a statement, the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Education and Workforce Committee and Senate HELP Committee said they “believe we have a path forward” toward a compromise between the House version, H.R. 5, and the Senate-passed bill, S. 1177.

Immigration – The Senate plans to take a procedural vote on Wednesday morning on S. 2193, “Kate’s Law.” The legislation sponsored by Sen. Cruz (R-Texas) would create two new mandatory minimum prison sentences for five years for certain immigrants who re-enter the country illegally. It would also increase the penalty for first-time illegal re-entry from two years to five years and create new penalties for those who have illegally re-entered three or more times. Earlier in the fall, the Senate voted on similar legislation from Sen. Vitter that would block certain federal funding streams in addition to establishing a mandatory minimum sentence; Democrats successfully blocked this bill.

Consumer Protections – The House will vote on two bills this week relating to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulatory authority.  The first, H.R. 1737 would over-ride the CFPB’s guidance on fair lending requirement for indirect auto lending.  The second, H.R. 1210 would broaden the definition of a “qualified mortgage,” granting additional liability protection to mortgage lenders. 

Law Enforcement – Attorney General Loretta Lynch will appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. This hearing was rescheduled from earlier in October.  Her remarks are expected to address issues facing the Justice Department, and law enforcement in particular. In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee’s Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, and Federal Courts Subcommittee will also hold a hearing on Tuesday on the relationship among federal, state, and local law enforcement. 

Nutrition – The House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday to review the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Budget – The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on whether the Congressional budget process should shift from annual to biennial budgeting.  The Senate Budget Committee held a similar hearing earlier this fall. 

Happy National Farmers Market Week!

Summer is prime time for fresh fruit and vegetables and nowhere is that more apparent than at your neighborhood farmers market, where you can find something delicious to eat in every color of the rainbow. Find a farmers market near you in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers Markets Directory.

IMG_1509Visiting a farmers market is a great way to make healthy food choices and support local farmers. The number of farmers markets that accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits keeps growing. Some farmers markets even participate in the Double Up program, which doubles the value of SNAP benefits spent, making it a great way to stretch your dollars. If you aren’t sure if you qualify for SNAP benefits, the USDA’s website has information about eligibility and enrollment. You can also take a look at NCLR’s list of community organizations that can help you with SNAP.

IMG_1632 (1)We are proud of the work of El Centro, our community partner in Kansas City, Kansas, which is promoting the fresh, seasonal foods available at farmers markets to the Latino community. An NCLR Affiliate, El Centro works closely with us on the Comprando Rico y Sano health program and provides tours of farmers markets to share insights on nutrition and help people learn how to eat healthily on a limited budget. These tours are part of the $5 dollar grocery tour challenge in which program participants are asked to purchase the ingredients for a healthy meal for $5 to feed a family of four. Enjoy the beautiful photos from El Centro’s tour of a farmers market!

This blog post is part of Comprando Rico y Sano, a program supported by the Walmart Foundation and General Mills, Inc.