As we approach the school year there are some noteworthy changes to food security programs that will impact hunger in the Granite State this fall:
- The Public Health Emergency declaration which granted SNAP recipients with supplementary allotments will end in October. This fall, monthly SNAP benefit amounts will be reduced significantly, on average $85-$95 less per month. With inflation and grocery prices rising, this removes a much needed cushion for buying groceries at this time. With other programs like universal school meals being stopped, those who utilize these funds are left without this extra support for their families.
- Universal school meals are no longer available in the state of New Hampshire due to nationwide pandemic waivers not being extended. However, some states like Vermont and Maine are leading by example and making free school meals available for all students. In New Hampshire, if your family qualifies for the Free and Reduced school lunch program, you must apply with your respective school.
- There is new legislation being proposed via a bill titled the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act (HR 8450). This bill includes provisions for school meals, unpaid school meal fees, WIC, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Nutrition Program, Summer EBT, Tribal provisions, and food and nutrition education, standards, and sustainability. Some key takeaways from this bill include:
• Direct certification for the Free and Reduced School Lunch Program for Medicaid recipients, children whose families’ household income is below 133% of the federal poverty line or who receive SSI, those who receive adoption assistance payments, or kinship guardianship assistance payments
• Direct certification for children whose families’ household income is between 133% and 185% of the poverty line to receive reduced-price meals
• Expansion of community eligibility, which allows high-need schools to offer free meals to all students
• Nationwide Summer EBT program which will provide $75 per child per month in nutrition benefits during the summer
• Expansion of WIC eligibility to age six
• Certification of SNAP households with children to be automatically eligible for CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program)
• Increase in funding and access for child nutrition programs to purchase foods that are considered sustainable and equitable, such as unprocessed food products that were locally grown and raised
• Many provisions for improving the administrative efficiency and evaluation of operating these programs
Read a complete summary of the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act here.
For more information about SNAP or to see if you qualify for benefits, click here.
To learn more about other legislation, as well as how to take action and get involved, visit the New Hampshire Hunger Solutions website.