Category: Children’s Nutrition

DiDomenico Continues the Fight for Anti-Hunger Policies

October 5, 2018

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As part of Hunger Action Month, Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) last week participated in the Hunger Awareness Rally at the State House. DiDomenico was joined at the rally by DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue, Representative Jay Livingstone, Representative Hannah Kane and Representative Joe McGonagle.

Sen. DiDomenico has long made food insecurity and nutrition policy a top priority and has been a leading champion for anti-hunger policies in the Massachusetts Legislature. At the rally, DiDomenico was recognized for his advocacy in the Legislature, and he spoke on the importance fighting against cuts to nutritional programming on the federal level and the need to continue expanding access to these services here in Massachusetts.

“While nutritional access is under attack at the federal level, here in Massachusetts, we know how valuable nutritional programs like SNAP are when it comes to improving the health and wellbeing our hardworking families,” said Sen. DiDomenico. “I, along with my legislative partner, will continue working to ensure that everyone in our Commonwealth has access to the nutrition they need and deserve, and I am very proud to be the lead Senate sponsor of policies like the SNAP Gap and Breakfast After The Bell bills to help expand nutritional access for our Commonwealth’s children and families. I would like to especially thank The Greater Boston Food Bank, Project Bread, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and countless other hunger relief organizations for their partnership and that all they do to raise awareness on this incredibly important issue for our Commonwealth and our nation.”

 

The Senator has personally filed two major pieces of legislation this session that would have a direct impact on food insecurity here in the Commonwealth:
  • An Act improving public health through a common application for core food, health and safety-net programs (i.e. the SNAP Gap bill)- This bill would create a common application portal to let low-income households apply for MassHealth and SNAP at the same time, thereby consolidating the application process and raising awareness of SNAP eligibility. This bill would help more low income students access free school meals, increasing food access for over 100,000 Massachusetts elders, and help more families meet their basic needs.
  • An Act regarding to breakfast after the bell-  This legislation would require all public K-12 schools with 60-percent or more students eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal National School Lunch Program to offer breakfast after the instructional day begins to increase student participation in free and reduced price breakfasts and decrease the amount of kids that start the school day hungry.

The Senator’s breakfast after the bell bill passed the Massachusetts Senate in July with a unanimous and bipartisan vote, and Sen. DiDomenico is continuing to work with the Rise and Shine MA coalition to advocate for the bill’s final passage during informal session by the end of the year.

Lawmakers rally in rain for school breakfast bill

BOSTON – Gathered in the rain outside the Statehouse on Tuesday, a group of about two dozen ralliers held signs telling the stories of people experiencing hunger in Massachusetts – among them, a gig worker who relies on supplemental food assistance between jobs, and a disabled man on a fixed income who uses food stamps to buy the healthier foods his doctor recommends.

“The weather is illustrative sometimes of how I think it feels to be battling hunger issues, right,” state Rep. Hannah Kane told the group. “It always feels like we’re battling something.”

The demonstration, organized by the Greater Boston Food Bank and other organizations, was part of Hunger Action Month.

The national organization Feeding America says 652,760 Massachusetts residents – or one in 10 people – are struggling with hunger, including 167,450 children.

Ralliers recognized Kane, a Shrewsbury Republican, and Democratic state Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett and Rep. Jay Livingstone of Boston for their work combating hunger.

The group called on the House to pass a Senate-backed bill that would require schools where at least 60 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals to offer breakfast after the instructional day begins. The bill outlines breakfast service models that include “breakfast in the classroom, grab and go breakfast or second chance breakfast.”

With more than three months left in the legislative session, the “breakfast after the bell” bill, sponsored by DiDomenico, is now before the House Ways and Means Committee. It passed the Senate unanimously on July 26.

“Breakfast after the bell, to get kids into school and performing much better, is incredibly key, and I hope we can still get that done this year,” Livingstone said.

Bills require unanimous votes to advance during informal sessions, but very few lawmakers attend the sessions.

“That should be a question that is as commonplace as ‘What’s your plan for jobs?’ ” she said.

As the rally broke up, Assefa offered a parting note to participants: “For anyone who’s hungry, we are getting pizza.”

https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20180925/lawmakers-rally-in-rain-for-school-breakfast-bill

Rep Livingstone Testifies on H.429 – An Act relative to ensuring the wellbeing of all children in the Commonwealth

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On Tuesday, October 20th, I had the privilege of testifying in support of a bill that I filed that would help poor children access welfare benefits. The bill, which was the result of a collaboration with the nonprofit Healthcare for All, works to amend a range of concerns for low income children in the Commonwealth. The Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children (HHH) Coalition, a diverse group of human service providers, researchers, and advocacy organizations, has backed this legislation and view it as a holistic approach to fixing these issues. There are over 30 organizations that make up the HHH Coalition including Health Care for All, Boston Children’s Hospital, Greater Boston Food Bank, and Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association. Their website can be found HERE.

For more information regarding this important legislation, click here.

Bill would help poor children access welfare benefits

Mass Live — Report on the bill filed by Rep. Livingstone and supported by a coalition of more than thirty organizations, including Health Care for All, Boston Children’s Hospital, Greater Boston Food Bank and many others. “It take a comprehensive approach to helping those that need the help the most – kids whose parents are on some sort of public assistance,” said State Rep. Jay Livingstone, D-Boston, the bill’s prime sponsor. “It really tries to get at the issues that they have often in school by focusing on all the problems – nutrition, housing, healthcare – and trying to find ways to improve each of those things and also make the government more efficient.” Read the story.