November news: trainings, farm bill, afterschool meal report

November 6th, 2018 / Author: Madison Wall

The TJC Nutrition Team is gearing up for an eventful legislative session, forging new partnerships and offering a series of new trainings to activate anti-hunger advocacy across Tennessee. Read on to learn more about the latest training opportunities and developments in nutrition policy.

Upcoming Trainings

SNAP 101 – November 15th: TJC SNAP Access Coordinator, Cassaundra Lockridge, along with Second Harvest of Middle TN SNAP Coordinator, Paige Hopkins, will offer a training on SNAP 101 on November 15th from 2:00-3:00 pm CT for individuals who are interested in learning how to connect families to food assistance. This training will cover SNAP basics, including the necessary steps to apply for SNAP. Register here.

Farm Bill Updates

Support a Farm Bill that Protects SNAP. Congress allowed the Farm Bill to expire on September 30th. While the bill has not been passed, there will be no changes to SNAP, TEFAP, CSFP, and FDPIR; these programs will continue to be funded and operate as usual.  

In the meantime, the House and Senate will continue to work towards the passage of a Farm Bill. Here’s what you can do to help:   

  1. Reach out to any of your Members of Congress who voted in favor of the bill to thank them for their vote.  
  2. Reach out to those that voted against the Farm Bill to express the importance of SNAP to many of their constituents. 
  3. Attend community events where members of Congress will be present and talk about the importance of SNAP 
  4. Share your stories on how SNAP has made a positive impact in your community. 
  5. Reach out to TJC if you are interested in engaging your representative. 

School Meal Highlight: After School Supper

Earlier this month, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released its Afterschool Supper Report on national participation in the program. While TN saw an 18.6% increase in average daily participation in afterschool suppers in 2017—placing TN among the top 10 states that reached more children with afterschool meals–there is still a lot of work to do in addressing hunger among children in the volunteer state.

According to the report, only 5.7 out of 100 children in TN who qualify for free and reduced-price meals receive an afterschool meal. If participation increased by 10%, the program would bring in an additional $3 million in federal funding into the state.

The More You Know: The Public Charge Rule

In September, a draft proposed rule change that could radically affect immigrant families across the country was released by the Department of Homeland Security. Under the draft proposal, if someone receives Medicaid, nutrition benefits, or other aid for which they are eligible, they may be denied green cards or a change of immigration status.
We know that when children are well-nourished, they perform better in school and have fewer health problems, which means more opportunity for lifelong success and stability. But under the proposed ‘public charge’ rule, fear of immigration consequences would prevent some families from accessing basic assistance programs, like SNAP, that help their children stay healthy and well-nourished.

How would the rule harm children’s nutrition?  

According to TJC partner Share Our Strength, the rule would place children in increased risk of hunger because if a parent or sibling no longer participates in SNAP, family food resources will diminish, and the entire family will be at greater risk of experiencing hunger.

“Declining SNAP participation among family members also puts school meals at risk for children because when an immigrant parent withdraws from SNAP, their children would lose those free or reduced-price school meals. Although the child may enroll separately in school meals, many parents will exercise extreme caution and avoid having their child participate in these programs. The outcome is that these children will be at greater risk of experiencing hunger, leading to lower academic performance and health.” Learn more about the rule’s impact on universal meals here and child nutrition here.

What you can you do to oppose this harmful proposal?  

Stay up-to-date on the status of the public charge rule change by signing up for this email list. To make your voice heard on this proposed rule, submit a unique public comment on or before December 10, 2018. Visit to submit a comment. If you have questions or would like assistance drafting a comment, please reply to this email.

Research Watch

The research is in: hunger can make even the most reasonable adults irritated and unfocused. So how can we expect children to do their best in school when they’re hungry? Read more.


  • WIC, a food program that helps new moms, infants, and children, will now give all recipients cards that will streamline checkout and help ease the stigma that comes with an inefficient paper-based system. All states must transition their WIC programs to electronic debit cards (like SNAP-issued EBT cards) by 2020. Read more.
  • What would an equitable food and farming system look like? Learn more about immediate steps that can be taken in the 2018 farm bill to fight hunger and inequality:

Thank you for supporting a healthier and more nourished future for children, families, and seniors across our state. Together we can defend against hunger and successfully advocate for a hunger-free Tennessee.
If there is any information you would like us to share on your behalf, including events and resources, reply to this email.