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More states are allowing certain residents to use their food benefits on select, low-cost restaurant meals.

In the past two years, six states, Including Arizona, have opted in to the little-used federal Restaurant Meals Program that allows older adults, people with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness to use their food benefits on select, low-cost restaurant meals. Read more»

Women who apply for welfare often have to identify who fathered their children and when they got pregnant, among other deeply personal details, then state governments use that information to pursue child support from the dads — and pocket the money. Read more»

A volunteer places food in a car in the food distribution line at West Houston Assistance Ministries in Houston, Texas. Since March 16, 2020, WHAM has served more than 180,000 people with food assistance — a dramatic increase from their usual 35,000 per year.

COVID-19 has laid bare the devastating cost of inequality in the U.S., with more than 600,000 people having died from the virus - but Black and Hispanic people are at least twice as likely as white Americans to die of the virus, showing the crisis didn’t hit everyone equally. Read more»

Both U.S. Reps. Grijalva and McGovern praised the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona as a 'national model' in how to address hunger beyond providing access to food. McGovern said their said he liked their involvement in other issues like housing security and nutrition education and that he wants to use a similar approach to end hunger by involving every department in the Biden administration in the effort.

Working on a “a national effort to end hunger,” a Massachusetts congressmen joined Rep. Raul Grijalva on Wednesday for a tour of a Tucson food bank that has seen the daily demand for assistance double during the pandemic. Read more»

Alexandra Sierra and one of her daughters hug outside their home in Bergen County, New Jersey, on March 9.

The financial fallout of COVID-19 has pushed child hunger to record levels. Counties seeing the largest increases in child food insecurity in 2020 generally have much higher median household incomes than counties with the smallest increases. Read more»

The number of Arizonans in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, surged in the past year, as the pandemic hit the economy.. But a new report says not everyone eligible for SNAP is able to access the system, and advocates worry that may still be happening despite increasing need.

The number of food stamp recipients in Arizona has surged over the past year, but advocates worry that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is still only reaching a portion of those eligible for assistance. Read more»

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met Monday with Republican senators who presented a $618 billion alternative to the president’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. But Democrats are backing Biden’s larger bill, which includes money for local governments and a $15 federal minimum wage, among other changes.

Six Arizona mayors were among hundreds who urged Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill that includes $350 billion in aid for state and local governments. Read more»

A worker helps unload a grocery cart of rescued food for a customer of the Borderlands Food Bank in Nogales in this 2017 photo. This year, food banks around Arizona have seen sharp spikes in demand after COVID-19 hit and advocates fear “food insecurity” could start climbing again.

Advocates fear that years of steady improvements in the level of “food insecurity” among Arizona children could be reversed this year by the economic toll of COVID-19, a shift that could have long-lasting effects. Read more»

The Trump administration’s rule preventing immigrants who receive any form of public assistance from obtaining green cards is “unmoored” from the intent of Congress, the Second Circuit ruled Tuesday. Read more»

The Trump administration has proposed several changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, including a plan to limit benefits for able-bodied, childless recipients. But critics fear the changes could have a devastating impact.

Advocates told a House subcommittee Thursday that a Trump administration plan to “close loopholes” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would actually slam the door on millions of recipients, including as many as 72,000 in Arizona. Read more»

The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the so-called public charge rule have caused widespread confusion among immigrant communities across the U.S. Under the new policy, use of such benefits as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid would be among the considerations used to determine whether immigrants are eligible for admission into the U.S. or to obtain a green card. Read more»

The Trump administration issued a rule Monday that allows the government to deny green cards or visas to people who rely on public benefit programs, or if they might need such programs, including food stamps, Medicaid and housing subsidies, in the future. Read more»

People who get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would no longer be automatically eligible for food stamp, or SNAP, benefits under a proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Arizona is one of the 43 states that could be affected by a Trump administration proposal to tighten restrictions on access to food stamps for people receiving other financial assistance. Read more»

Tempe City Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage, with microphone, joined city officials from Ohio, Missouri and Texas on a panel to talk about the impact a proposed change to immigrant benefits could have on their cities.

A Trump administration plan to limit public assistance for legal immigrants simply “passes the buck down to cities who are going to have to figure out how to pay” for the lost benefits, local officials were told Monday. Read more»

Volunteers for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance fill bags with donated food during the recent government shutdown. A spokesman for the food bank said they likely would expand services if there is another shutdown.

Food banks across Arizona launched mobile services to help federal workers during the recent five-week shutdown, which taught them how to prepare for the possibility of another shutdown. Read more»

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