Friday, April 28, 2017

FRAC, NPR Cover New Mexico's Hunger-Free Students Bill of Rights

The Food Research and Action Center recently launched its redesigned website. There are several important features about the new site: it is attractive (with beautiful and relevant graphics) and easy to navigate, and the information is much better organized and easy to find.

Three links are particularly useful for advocates engaged in addressing issues and initiatives related to domestic hunger and nutrition: Legislative Action Center, Hunger and Poverty in America, and Obesity and Health.

The site also puts a strong emphasis on the work of advocates in each individual state through a link that lists important State Partners.

Here are the groups listed for New Mexico
Farm to Table New Mexico
New Mexico Voices for Children
New Mexico Appleseed
New Mexico Association of Food Banks
The Food Depot
The New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty

Hunger-Free Students Bill of Rights
Photo: Education Votes (National Education Association)
One of those partners, New Mexico Appleseed, contributed information to FRAC about the The Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights, (SB374), which passed the Senate in a 30-7 vote in March. The measure was later approved unanimously in the state House of Representatives. 

“Children whose parents or caregivers owe money for school lunch will no longer have to miss meals or face public embarrassment in front of their peers,” said Jennifer Ramo, executive director of New Mexico Appleseed. “No child should be forced to wipe down cafeteria tables or throw away a meal because of a debt. We’re urging Governor Martinez to make New Mexico a leader in the fight against child hunger by signing this first-of-its-kind legislation.”

“This bill draws a line in the sand between the student and the unpaid school meal fees that their parents or guardians owe, oftentimes because they cannot afford to pay on time,” continued Ramo. “Many children count on school meals for the nutrition they need to be able to learn and thrive in the classroom.”   Read full article in FRAC's website.

The national media also picked on this issue. National Public Radio featured one the initiative's supporters: Sen. Michael Padilla.

When New Mexico state Sen. Michael Padilla was a child, he says he mopped the cafeteria floors to earn his school lunch, and he befriended the cafeteria workers so he wouldn't have to go hungry. "I grew up in foster homes, multiple foster homes," the Democratic lawmaker tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "It's very obvious who the poor kids are in the school."

He says students in circumstances like his often have to watch as other children get served a hot lunch, while they are given a piece of bread — with "maybe a little bit of cheese." Read Full NPR Article   The Associated Press and The New York Times also covered the issue.

State of the States: New Mexico's Discouraging Statistics
The New FRAC website also provides data for each state through a link entitled State of the States Here is a summary  in the site:

FRAC’s State of the States: Profiles of Hunger, Poverty, and Federal Nutrition Programs – available for every state and for the nation as a whole – is designed to provide basic data as one tool to help states measure how they are doing in the effort to get key public nutrition programs to meet the needs of hungry people and improve the health and economic security of low-income families.

The data provided describe the extent of hunger and the use of nutrition programs, giving a snapshot of how well or badly each state is doing using the latest available data. The data can be used to encourage states and communities to improve policies and practices that would expand the reach of the federal nutrition programs.

Download your state’s profile (pdf) (Demographics, Poverty and Food Insecurity; Federal Nutrition Programs; State Economic Security Policies).
View the national profile.

The site provides a PDF link with statistics for each state, including New Mexico
Here are some of our statistics:

Demographics, Poverty and Food InsecurityTotal People 2,085,109
Children (Under Age 18) 499,416

 Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico
Median Household Income $45,382
Rank Among States (Best to Worst) 46
Total People Living In Poverty 417,834
Poverty Rate 20.4%
Rank Among States (Worst to Best) 2

Children (Under Age 18) Living In Poverty 141,053
Child Poverty Rate 28.6%
Rank Among States (Worst to Best) 2

Total People Living Below 185% of Federal Poverty Level 796,357
Number of Households that are Food Insecure (2013-2015, 3-year average) 116,757
Percent of Households that are Food Insecure (2013-2015, 3-year average) 14.4%
Number of Households that are Very Low Food Secure (2013-2015, 3-year average) 46,290
Percent of Households that are Very Low Food Secure (2013-2015, 3-year average) 5.7%
Percent of Households Struggling Against Food Hardship (2015) 17.8%

View the full set of statistics

No comments: