Recently THI visited Austin for the The Texas Food Policy Roundtable (TFPR).
What is the Texas Food Policy Roundtable?
It is a broadly based group of Texas leaders who have joined forces to develop, coordinate, and improve the implementation of food policy to address hunger and promote equitable, sustainable, and healthy food in Texas. The roundtable will focus on four areas of food policy:
- Improving access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) to prevent hunger and help Texas families afford a nutritious diet;
- Increasing participation in the Summer Food Programs so that children in Texas continue to learn and grow when school is out;
- Promoting policy solutions to increase nutrition, reduce and prevent obesity; and creating a local, sustainable, and accessible food system for all Texans.
Overall it was a successful meeting that focused on a variety of topics. One of the first items on the agenda was SNAP outreach in Texas. It is a on-going concern that people are not registering for SNAP benefits that are in-fact eligible. One of the solutions that was presented was training volunteers to assist with registering potential applicants and additionally informing the public of SNAP benefits.
Another item on the agenda was Summer.
The summer months are an enjoyable experience for most, however for the families experiencing poverty “Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.” Many children below the poverty line receive free or reduced price lunches in school cafeterias, but what happens when school is no longer in session. Kids will not have access to the cafeteria for Lunch (and sometimes Breakfast) therefore the Summer Meals Food Service Program provides food assistance for children K-12 during the summer when they are out of school. Texas Hunger Initiative believes strongly in the need for all children to have access to eating a healthy/balanced meal. By supporting Summer Meals, children all over the state can go to various sites in their community to eat a proper meal when school is out.