McLennan County Hunger Coalition Puts Valero Grant to Good Use

February 28, 2012

The McLennan County Hunger Coalition (MCHC) recently received a grant from Valero for $22,500 to use toward ending child and youth hunger in our community. So far, the coalition has passed on $13,500 to organizations in need in McLennan County. See what they have planned for the rest at

Learn all about it! Agencies offer free webinars about Summer Meals

February 27, 2012

The USDA and Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) both have intensive webinars coming up to increase awareness of the need for and implementation of Summer Feeding Programs throughout the country. Sign up for an upcoming session today! – Offers several dates, as well as sessions specific to faith-based groups and for Spanish-speaking participants. – On March 6, 2012 at 12 p.m. CST, FRAC will host a conference call on site recruitment. Visit their site today to register as space is limited.

Nearly One in Five Americans Report Inability to Afford Enough Food

February 27, 2012

FRAC Releases 2011 Food Hardship Data, with Rates for the Nation, Regions, States, 100 Large Metropolitan Areas, and Every Congressional District

Contact: Jennifer Adach, 202-986-2200 x3018

Washington, D.C. – February 27, 2012 – New food hardship data from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) show continuing struggles with hunger for millions throughout 2011, as nearly one in five Americans said there were times they didn’t have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed.

FRAC’s food hardship report (pdf) analyzes data that were collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” The report contains data throughout 2011 for every state, region, congressional district, and 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas (MSA). Gallup asked the question of 352,789 households in 2011.

Nationally, 18.6 percent of respondents reported food hardship in 2011, an increase from the 2010 level of 18 percent and the highest annual rate in the four years that FRAC has been tracking these data. Food hardship reached every part of the country:

  1. Mississippi has the worst rate among states, with one in four households (24.5 percent) reporting food hardship, but 30 states have more than one in six households answering “yes” and the “best” state, North Dakota, still had one in ten households struggling with food hardship.
  2. While California is home to two of the worst MSAs (Fresno and Bakersfield), 96 of the 100 largest MSAs had at least one in eight households reporting food hardship in 2011.
  3. The five worst congressional districts are in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas, but 384 congressional districts had at least one in eight households reporting food hardship.
  4. Regionally, the hardest hit were the Southeast and Southwest regions. Every region except for the Mountain Plains had higher food hardship rates in 2011 than in 2010.

“Rising food prices, continuing high unemployment and underemployment, and flat food stamp benefit allotments all contributed to the high food hardship rate in 2011,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “Particularly challenging was the increase in food inflation, especially for the foods the government uses to construct the Thrifty Food Plan, its cheapest diet. Food stamp beneficiaries lost more than six percent of their food purchasing power because of this increase.”

To read the full report, please visit

Check out “Feeding Minds” online!

February 25, 2012

If you missed the PBS special, Feeding Minds: Texas Takes on Hunger and Obesity, don’t worry! You can watch it online at:

Check it out today. Great program! And, co-hosted by Texas Hunger Initiative and FPTF friend, Jeremy Everett.

Feeding Minds: Texas Takes on Hunger and Obesity – A Texas PBS Production

February 23, 2012

Submitted by Bee Moorhead on Thursday, February 23, 2012

Texas PBS stations have launched the Texas Feeding Minds Project – an awareness effort about childhood obesity and hunger. Project components include online outreach efforts as well as an on air production – all with the aim of increasing awareness about these overlapping issues as well as providing positive solutions addressing them across the state.

Camille Miller, President/CEO of the Texas Health Institute, and Jeremy Everett, Director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, are serving as both program advisors and co-hosts. Their advisement has directed Texas PBS stations to topics and solutions that will both bring awareness to these overlapping issues and direct viewers to solutions that can be emulated in various communities across the state.

Seven Texas PBS stations are producing individual, stand-along documentary packages that will be woven together with our hosts’ narration and select state-wide expert interviews. These seven stations are: Austin/KLRU, Corpus Christi/KEDT, Dallas/KERA, El Paso/KCOS, Houston/KUHT, Lubbock/KTXT and San Antonio/KLRN. Amarillo/KACV is serving as the program coordinator and producer.

Program content will address the following topics:

  • Defining the overlapping issues of childhood obesity and hunger – how they co-exist and why we should care
  • What is happening at the state level on these issues
  • What is happening on a regional level on these issues (Rural and Urban Communities: Faith Based Community and Food Banks/Food Deserts)
  • What is happening on a community level on these issues (Schools, Restaurants, Groceries and Community Gardens/Fresh Foods/Nutrition Education)
  • What can happen on an individual level on these issues (individual choices and accessing resources)



Thursday, February 23, 2012

8pm (check local listings)

Texas PBS Stations 


View a trailer of the documentary film here

2012 Hunger Report – Rebalancing Act: Updating U.S. Food and Farm Policy

February 20, 2012

Foreword by Rev. David Beckmann

Did you know that one in four Americans participate in a federal nutrition program? Because of this high rate of participation, the nation’s nutrition and farm policies absolutely need to be aligned.

Farm policy should significantly increase production of healthy foods. But farm policies alone can’t automatically improve nutrition among low-income families. Nutrition programs need to do more than provide food for hungry people; they must ensure that healthy food is available to all.

The 2012 Hunger Report: Rebalancing Act: Updating U.S. Food and Farm Policy, recommends ways for the federal government to better respond to the agriculture and nutrition challenges of today and tomorrow.

Keep reading to learn about why public goods should be public sector priorities, how helping poor countries helps our country, and ways we can rebalance our food systems through the farm bill.

A grocery store on wheels? Read how others across the country are tackling food deserts in their area.

February 20, 2012

A Tale of Two Food Deserts

Published on Organic Gardening (

One county borders the Chihuahuan Desert, while the other county houses the gleaming towers of Chicago. One is 48 percent Latino; the other, 25 percent African American. One has 30,000 residents; the other, 5.2 million. Grant County, New Mexico, and Cook County, Illinois, appear to have little in common. But in both counties, one out of every four children lives below the poverty line. And in both counties, there are food deserts.

A food desert is an area without any major supermarkets, where the residents don’t have ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Low household income, lack of available transportation, and climate are all factors that can create a food desert. Those issues caused the food deserts in both Grant County and Cook County, and spurred two very different groups to create new solutions for the same problem.

Recognizing the Problem
Until an article about his neighborhood, Englewood, showed up in the Chicago Tribune in 2006, Steve Casey, a grants and budgets manager at the MacArthur Foundation, didn’t even know he was living in a food desert. Jeff Pinzino, a community organizer, read the same article and thought it crazy that the communities on the West Side of Chicago were living without grocery stores. In the summer of 2007, a mutual friend introduced the two men, and Casey and Pinzino began brainstorming ways to fix the situation.

Read more at,0&cm_mmc=LivingLightlyNL-_-815758-_-02202012-_-a_tale_of_two_food_deserts