3rd Annual Dallas Hunger Summit a Success!

WATCH: Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Welcomes Summit Attendees

On Friday, September 5, The Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, chaired by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, held its third annual Hunger Summit at Mountain View College. It was a huge success, with over 200 members of the community and anti-poverty organizations in attendance. Thank you to all who attended and made the Summit the spectacular event that it was.

Hunger Summit attendees had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions related to strategies underway by each Action Team: Child Hunger, Senior Hunger, Faith Community Hunger Solutions, Neighborhood Organizing, and Urban Agriculture.

Some of the strategies and opportunities covered included:

  • Community partnerships that can increase food and other resources for seniors, children and families;
  • The specific needs and challenges that seniors face in getting access to healthy food;
  • Initiatives underway to promote community economic development and healthy food access through local urban agriculture;
  • Activities faith communities can undertake that will have a significant impact on reducing hunger, including an exciting family gardening project;
  • Resources available to provide healthy food at afterschool programs; and
  • Ideas for how neighborhoods can organize to improve access to healthy food


Special thanks to the following organizations:

Dallas Baptist Association

Episcopal Diocese of Dallas


GROW North Texas

North Texas Food Bank

The Senior Source

Sonia White Consulting

Texas Hunger Initiative – Dallas

And extreme gratitude to our sponsors:

Mountain View College for providing the beautiful venue

Panera Bread for donating coffee

SoDa’s Cafe for donating breakfast

Dallas County Community College District for providing gift bags

Thank you to all who attended and we look forward to seeing you again next year!


Amarillo ISD opens a bakery to meet new healthy school meal requirements

“The school district built their very own bakery to provide its 53 schools with whole grain bread, which is one of the new healthier requirements. “We make loaf bread, hamburger, hot dog buns, rolls and hoagies,” said AISD Food Service Director Brent Hoover. “Then any other products like chicken nuggets, corn dogs, or anything that is made with a breading type ingredient like grain has to be whole grain and we are 100 percent compliant with the USDA regulation.”

The bread is made from scratch and served fresh to students on a daily basis. The AISD Bakery produces about one ton of dough each day, which ends up providing about 9,000 meals to local students.”

To read the full article and watch the video from News Channel 10, click here.

Center for Social Inclusion Publishes Reports on Racial Equity in the Food System

Two new reports from the Center for Social Inclusion, Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System and Shining a Light in Dark Places: Raising Up the Work of Southern Women of Color in the Food System, discuss how injustices in our broken food system disproportionately impact people of color. Using a critical race lens, CSI identifies housing and school policies, land policies and institutional discrimination, Farm Bill policies and vertical integration in the food industry, and Social Security and wage policies as issues that, deliberately or not, impact low-income people of color and generational poverty. The first report proposes solutions such as surfacing opportunities to craft broad, intersectional policy solutions and forging partnerships across urban and rural communities to create a more racially equitable food system. The second report describes the realities of current and past food systems from the perspectives of Southern women of color.

Read the reports here.

Feeding America’s 2014 Hunger In America study released

The Hunger in America study series is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive insight into charitable food distribution in the United States.

Hunger in America is a series of quadrennial studies that provide comprehensive demographic profiles of people seeking food assistance through the charitable sector and an in-depth analysis of the partner agencies in the Feeding America network that provide this assistance. It is the largest study of its kind. The data collected through the Hunger in America studies help guide the development of programs and solutions that improve food security for individuals and their households and inform public policy and support for solving hunger in America.

Hunger in America 2014 is the sixth and most comprehensive study undertaken. The 2014 study reveals that each year, the Feeding America network of food banks provides service to 46.5 million people in need across the United States, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. Through a network of 58,000 pantries, meal service programs, and other charitable food programs, the Feeding America network reaches people in need in every community across the U.S.

To read the full report, click here.

Nutrition Assistance Recipients Struggle with Incidences of Public Shame

(Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 24, 2014)

When Meg Johnston of Marietta, Georgia was shopping at the grocery store, she pulled out her WIC coupons to pay for the items that the program covered. She also had ice cream and soda for her family. She planned to pay cash for these items that weren’t covered by WIC. A woman saw her oversized vouchers printed with “Georgia WIC Program” and said to Johnston “[y]ou know, if you’re on government assistance you really shouldn’t be buying ice cream and soda.”  Johnston was shocked. “I didn’t know what to say. I held it together long enough to pay and get to my car, but I was bawling by the time I got in,” she said. These incidents are impossible to quantify and study, but letters to news outlets, social media posts, and caseworker and aid conversations reveal the unsolicited and guilt-producing remarks those on assistance often have to contend with when grocery shopping.

Clients tell Extriara Gates, benefits screener for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, that they hear criticisms from customers behind them in grocery store lines when they use their EBT cards or WIC vouchers. “I guess the assumption is that poor people should only eat certain things,” said Gates.

The move to EBT cards for SNAP, made to improve program administration and reduce fraud, has also helped reduce some of the stigma attached to the program, since they look like debit cards.  “Historically, there have always been these efforts to ‘guide’ the poor,” said Michael Leo Owens, associate professor of political science at Emory University. “‘Why give your child a sugary drink when you can give them milk?’ But there’s nothing patriotic about this kind of talk or morally upstanding about it. It’s about belittling people.”

Read the full article by Rosalind Bentley on the Atlanta-Journal Constitution website:

Dora Rivas Is on an Insatiable Quest to Improve the Nutrition in Dallas’ Public Schools

Check out this great article, published on June 26th by the Dallas Observer Blog, all about Dora Rivas and her mission to improve nutrition in Dallas Schools!

“By working with United Way, Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative, Dallas’ Coalition for Hunger Solutions and more, Rivas is pushing her good nutrition mantra beyond school boundaries and out into communities — an effort carried out by her school kids, who take nutrition knowledge home with them to their parents.”

To read the whole article, click here.


USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

DAVIS, Calif., June 23, 2014 – U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced the implementation of new Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Harden also, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

“New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies announced today will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive.”

USDA’s New Farmers website has in depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk management tools; and access USDA education, and technical support programs. These issues have been identified as top priorities by new farmers. The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations.

Today’s policy announcements in support of beginning farmers and ranchers include:

  • Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product. Under this waiver, announced via an official notice (PDF, 171KB) to Farm Service Agency offices, farmers and ranchers whom already enrolled in NAP for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.
  • Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers which will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent. Waiving these reductions for new and beginning farmers will provide extra financial support during times of emergency like drought and other natural disasters.
  • Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) (PDF, 288KB). Under this provision, beginning and farmers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.

In the near future, USDA will also announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers – including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits.

Cilck here to go to the centralized location for USDA initiatives to help beginning farmers and ranchers:

Senior Hunger on the Rise

The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) has released a new study entitled The State of Senior Hunger in America 2012.  In just five years from 2007 to 2012, the number of seniors facing the threat of hunger increased by 49%. The report, which contains the most recent statistics on senior hunger, attempts to raise awareness on this issue.

This report demonstrates that seniors in 2012 continued to face increasing challenges meeting food need. Specifically, we find that:

  • 15% of seniors face the threat of hunger. This translates into 9.3 million seniors.
  • Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger.
  • Out of those seniors who face the threat of hunger, the majority has incomes above the poverty line and is white.
  • From 2001 to 2012, the fraction of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger increased by 44%. The number of seniors rose by 98% which also reflects the growing population of seniors.
  • Since the onset of the recession in 2007 until 2013, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 49%

To read the full report:


The summer of 2013 marked the first major increase in the number of low-income children
eating summer meals in 10 years. In July 2013, the Summer Nutrition Programs grew to serve nearly
three million children, an increase of 161,000 children or 5.7 percent from 2012, and the largest
percentage increase since 2003.

This increase in participation is good news not just for the children, but for states, for
communities, and for struggling families. When the school bell rings to mark the beginning of the long
summer recess, millions of low-income children lose access to the school breakfasts and lunches they
rely on during the school year. The federal Summer Nutrition Programs—the Summer Food Service
Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)—are designed to replace the school
breakfasts and lunches on which low-income children and their families rely during the school year.
They provide children the nutritious meals they need to keep hunger at bay and remain healthy
throughout the summer. The meals provided through the Summer Nutrition Programs also support
summer programs and help draw children into educational, enrichment, and recreational activities
that keep them learning, engaged, active, and safe during school vacation.

Growing participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs means that more low-income children are
experiencing these benefits. 2013 saw overall growth in the number of children eating summer
meals, but it also saw progress in the reach of these programs. The programs grew to serve 15.1
children for every 100 low-income children who participated in school lunch during the 2012-2013
school year, a modest increase from the 14.3:100 served in the 2011-2012 school year. This growth
is due to a combination of more children (161,000) eating summer meals, and fewer low-income
children (27,000) eating school lunch during the regular school year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was the key driving force behind the participation
growth in July 2013. In May 2013, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA was making higher
participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs a top priority. He set an ambitious goal of increasing
the number of meals served during the summer by five million. Working in partnership with FRAC,
Feeding America, Share Our Strength, and other national, state, and local stakeholders to increase
Summer Nutrition participation, USDA surpassed its goal and served seven million more meals in the
summer of 2013 than it did in 2012.

To read the entire report: