25

May

Tell Your Senators to Protect SNAP!


Although not a permanent solution, government-supported food and nutrition assistance programs provide an intermediate response to hunger.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called the Food Stamp Program, is vital to the stability of working poor families in Oklahoma.  Currently, this program helps more than 600,000 struggling Oklahomans – nearly half of whom are children.

Tomorrow, the Senate is planning to vote on the House-passed FY2012 Budget Resolution, which includes a proposal to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $127 billion over the next 10 years. It is critical that Senators hear from their constituents about the importance of protecting SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs.  This vote is simply the first of what will likely be many attempts to make harmful changes to safety net programs, so we must weigh-in at every opportunity.

We are asking all of our supporters to call their Senators about protecting SNAP.  You can help us track our impact by using Feeding America’s toll-free number, 877-698-8228.  After a brief message, you’ll be asked to enter your zip code to connect directly to your Senator’s office.  After delivering your message to the first office, stay on the line to be connected to your second Senator’s office.  Once you are connected:

  1. Tell them that you are a constituent calling from [location].
  2. Let them know you are calling about the House FY2012 Budget Resolution.
  3. Deliver this message:
    • I am a supporter of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which provides more than 77,000 meals to hungry Oklahomans each week.
    • I urge you to vote AGAINST the House FY2012 Budget Resolution.  Cutting safety net programs and block granting SNAP is the WRONG way to balance the budget.
    • The food bank will not be able to meet the increased demand for food assistance if nutrition programs are drastically cut.
    • Instead, I ask that you work with your colleagues to pass a budget that addresses the deficit while safeguarding programs that protect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

We will continue to keep you updated as details emerge.  In the meantime, please contact me at (405) 600-3129 or astokes@regionalfoodbank.org if you have questions or feedback.

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley


03

Dec

On Behalf of Hungry Children, Hip Hip Hooray!


Yesterday, December 2, 2010, the House of Representatives passed The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307).  The bill now heads to the President, who is expected to sign it into law quickly.

The passage of this bill is a significant victory for hungry children.  It provides $4.5 billion in new funding over the next 10 years to improve children’s access to healthy meals—the largest investment in federal child nutrition programs since their inception!

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act takes several steps forward to ensure that low-income children have the nutritious food they need to be healthy and successful, including:

  • Expanding the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states;
  • Supporting improvements to direct certification for school meals and other strategies to reduce red tape in helping children obtain school meals;
  • Allowing state Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) agencies the option to certify children for up to one year;
  • Mandating WIC electronic benefit transfer (EBT) implementation nationwide by October 1, 2020;
  • Improving area eligibility rules so more family child care homes can use the Child and Adult Care Food Program;
  • Enhancing the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings; and
  • Making “competitive foods,” such as vending machine snacks, offered and sold in schools more nutritious.

Thank you for your phone calls and emails in support of this legislation!  You’ve made a difference in the lives of hungry children.

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley


15

Nov

Child Nutrition: Put on Top of Congress’ Agenda


In Oklahoma, 1 in every 5 children is at risk of hunger every day.  I can’t imagine that this statistic is any more acceptable to you than it is to me.   With your partnership and support, we are working hard to change this by feeding children after school, on weekends and over the summer.  But it’s not enough.  Far too many low-income children still lack the nutritious food they need to be healthy and successful.

Over the last year, Congress has been considering legislation that impacts both the children we serve and the programs we operate.  The child nutrition bill provides an opportunity to reduce child hunger by improving and strengthening child nutrition programs, such as the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and after school, weekend and summer nutrition programs.

With just two legislative weeks left this year, we need to make sure Congress puts passing the child nutrition bill at the top of their agenda when they return to work this week.  Congress will make this bill a priority if they believe it’s important to their constituents.  Please help us show them that it is.

Here are 3 ways you can help:

1. USE YOUR VOICE

Contact your Members of Congress and deliver a clear message:  All Oklahoma children should have access to nutritious food.  Congress must make the child nutrition bill a priority.

2. RAISE AWARENESS

Share Feeding America’s video on child hunger and obesity with your family, friends, and co-workers.

3. SPREAD THE WORD

Join the social media campaign to put the child nutrition bill back on Congress’ radar and build momentum to pass this legislation.

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley


27

Sep

Tell Congress: Help Feed Hungry Kids


Time is running out for Congress to pass a child nutrition bill.  The bill expires on Thursday, and House leaders hope to pass a bill by then. Negotiations on the bill continue, and a vote could come as early as Wednesday.

Find out how you can help now. Thank you for your support in the fight against childhood hunger.

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley


21

Sep


We need your help, and time is of the essence.  Far too many low-income children lack the nutritious food they need to be healthy and successful.  The child nutrition bill before Congress provides an opportunity to change that, but the improvements that are needed will not happen without your support.

The child nutrition bill passed by the Senate did not make the necessary improvements needed to ensure that low-income children are connected to these government-funded programs.  With Congress back in Washington, the House of Representatives has less than two weeks to strengthen and pass the bill before programs expire on September 30.

The House of Representatives shouldn’t wait another day to take action on child hunger, and neither should you.  Join others across the country in asking Congress to make this bill a priority!  Contact your Representative today!

Taking action is easy.  Just follow these instructions:

  • Go to www.hungeractioncenter.org/fastaction/
  • Fill in your name and address to identify your Congressional District
  • You will be provided a toll-free number and PIN that will connect you directly to your Representative’s office:
    1. Dial the toll-free number – 866-548-0332
    2. When prompted, enter your PIN
  • When the office answers, tell them that you are a constituent and provide your name and hometown.
  • Tell them that you are calling about Child Nutrition Reauthorization and deliver these messages:
    1. No child in Oklahoma should have to worry about where their next meal comes from.
    2. The House of Representatives should pass a strong child nutrition bill that doesn’t cut SNAP benefits.

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley


21

Jun


A $25,000 grant award from Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger will fund statewide public policy and advocacy efforts this year! Through this grant, we will work to educate local and national political leaders, as well as the charitable community, in an effort to reduce hunger in Oklahoma.

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s objectives include: recruiting partner agencies to engage with elected officials about hunger and its solutions; involving the Regional Food Bank’s Board of Directors in matters of public policy impacting the organization’s mission; and engaging 1,000 people to advocate on behalf of the Regional Food Bank and its mission.

We urge you to become an advocate today by signing up for information about hunger and nutrition issues on our website!

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley


02

Nov

Commodity Supplemental Food Program


This past month marked a huge victory for the Regional Food Bank and all anti-hunger advocates! On October 21, President Obama signed into law the final agriculture appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 2997). This legislation includes a significant investment in nutrition assistance programs, including the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The CSFP provides food packages to supplement the diets of at-risk populations, including the elderly. Often times, this program is a safety net for those who fall through the cracks in other nutrition assistance programs.

For the past six years, Oklahoma has been waiting for Congress to appropriate adequate funding to make the CSFP available for our most vulnerable citizens. Finally, the wait is over. A little over $171 million has been allocated to fund the CSFP. And $5 million of this funding has been set aside for an expansion of the program in seven new states with approved USDA plans, including Oklahoma.

We will keep you updated as we learn more about the implementation of the CSFP in Oklahoma. On behalf of those in our state who will soon receive the help they so desperately need – thank you for contacting your federal legislator and helping get this bill passed!

Help us continue to fight hunger. Sign up to become an advocate now!

- Ashley Stokes, Advocacy & Public Policy Manager

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes

Ashley Stokes is the Advocacy & Public Policy Manager at the Regional Food Bank. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009.
Read more articles by Ashley