The Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus (MDGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders throughout the eight-state Delta region, which stretches from southern Illinois down to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Agenda: Opening Starts at 4:30 Oct. 30 Thursday with Sens. Pryor & Boozman

Posted on October 23, 2014 at 01:56 PM

US Sen. Mark Pryor speaks at the Thursday, Oct. 30 opening session of the Delta Caucus at 5 p.m. followed by US Sen. John Boozman at 5:30 p.m. The opening session is very important and starts promptly at 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to noon we will have First District Candidate Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs, –US Senate candidate Rep. Travis Childers from Mississippi, –The Hon. Rodney Slater, President Clinton’s US Secretary of Transportation, –President Clinton’s FEMA Associate Director Kay Goss –and Lynnette Watts of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas,

–then governor candidates Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson from 11 a.m. to noon, –Congressman Rick Crawford of the First District at the luncheon from noon to 1 p.m., –and Arkansas Hospital Association CEO Bo Ryall speaking on the private option and Anna Strong of Arkansas Children’s Hospital as the two other luncheon speakers.

The Friday session as a whole is 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

US Senate candidate for Mississippi Rep. Travis Childers will speak and US Sen. Thad Cochran is invited.

Draft of the agenda, registration, RSVP, group hotels information and directions to Beth El Heritage Hall in Helena are below in this email.

PLEASE RSVP NOW: To RSVP to reserve space for the Oct. 30-31 Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Helena-West Helena, AR, send your name and contact information to Lee Powell at leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net or call (202) 360-6347. You need to RSVP to be assured of a space at the conference. We have 125 RSVPs right now and there is always a late surge in RSVPS in the last few days before a regional conference.

You register by paying the registration fees. For local group discounts, fees are $75.

BASIC SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, OCT. 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at Beth El Heritage Hall, 406 Perry St., Helena, AR 72342

Friday, Oct. 31 from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

For people who are part of a local group discount, the registration fees are $75.

For those who learned about this conference late in the process, we will not ask for the higher late registration fees at $115 and will accept $75.

For those who knew about the early registration deadline of Oct. 21 that is now past but did not observe the deadline, we will ask for the higher fees of $115 in order to create an incentive to get the fees in on time.

We prefer for registration fees to be sent in ahead of time, but we can also accept them at the front desk at the conference.

Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

A rough draft of the agenda is below in the extended section of this post.

In a small number of cases where people cannot attend both days of the conference, we will accept a minimum registration fee of $30 for one day. We would greatly prefer that people come to both days.

We have confirmed additional distinguished speakers for this conference:

-the Hon. Rodney Slater, US Secretary of Transportation for President Clinton and now a partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, DC;

-Bob Nash, senior White House aide to President Clinton and now president of Bob J. Nash & Associates;

–Bo Ryall, CEO of Arkansas Hospital Association to discuss the private option health care plan;

-Anna Strong, Executive Director of Child Advocacy and Public Health for Arkansas Children’s Hospital; and

-Executive Director Lynnette Watts of the Women’s Foundation for Arkansas, which is working with the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on research to inform the public about where we have made progress on women’s issues, where we still have a ways to go-knowing the facts is essential in devising actions in addressing full civic, political and economic participation for women and girls across our region.

Key issues will include job creation/retention, the private option health care plan and other health care issues, USDA nutrition, rural development and agriculture programs, transportation improvements including Interstate 69, women and children’s issues and their impact on regional community and economic development, broadband expansion, the Delta Queen bill and other Delta heritage tourism initiatives, and other regional issues.

We will have a dialogue with the major candidates for US Senate, US House and Governor and include grassroots leaders from all eight states of the Greater Delta Region.

PLEASE MAKE YOUR GROUP HOTEL RESERVATIONS ASAP, BECAUSE THIS CONFERENCE TAKES PLACE AT HALLOWEEN AND THE HOTELS MAY BE FULL UP IF YOU WAIT UNTIL TOO CLOSE TO HALLOWEEN TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION.

HOTELS: Please make your hotel reservations ASAP, because this conference takes place at Halloween and that is a very busy time for the hotels. If you wait closer to Halloween they may be full up when you call.

The two best hotels in Helena-West Helena are the following:

Best Western Inn: Please call the hotel at (870) 572-2592 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group. The rates range from about $89 to $94 plus tax, depending on the size room you request for the nights of Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Many people just stay the one night of Oct. 30.

THE EDWARDIAN INN: This is an elegant bed and breakfast in Helena-West Helena, set in a stately home built by a wealthy Helena cotton trader in 1904. Please call the Edwardian Inn at (870) 338-9155 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the lower rate of $83 for Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Many people will just stay the one night of Oct. 30. We have a bloc of 10 rooms.

Please reserve your room at the Edwardian Inn as soon as possible, because the closer it gets to Halloween the greater likelihood may be that they will be full up.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS MESSAGE

  1. DIRECTIONS TO HISTORIC BETH EL HERITAGE HALL IN HELENA-WEST HELENA (there are only two roads to enter Helena)

  2. DRAFT OF THE AGENDA

  3. APPRECIATION FOR SPONSORS

  4. KEY ISSUES

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Registration, RSVP info, Draft Agenda for Oct. 30-31 Delta Event in Helena, AR

Posted on October 21, 2014 at 12:43 PM

To RSVP to reserve space for the Oct. 30-31 Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Helena-West Helena, AR, send your name and contact information to Lee Powell at leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net or call (202) 360-6347.

You register by paying the registration fees. For local group discounts, fees are $75.

BASIC SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, OCT. 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at Beth El Heritage Hall, 406 Perry St., Helena, AR 72342

Friday, Oct. 31 from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

For those who learned about this conference late in the process, we will not ask for the higher late registration fees at $115. For those who knew about the early registration deadline of Oct. 21 that is now past but did not observe the deadline, we will ask for the higher fees of $115 in order to create an incentive to get the fees in on time.

We prefer for registration fees to be sent in ahead of time, but we can also accept them at the front desk at the conference.

Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD b 20601

A rough draft of the agenda is below in the extended section of this post.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Helena-West Helena AR on Oct. 30-31 features, US Sen. John Boozman, Mike Ross, Asa Hutchinson, we have confirmed Congressman Rick Crawford as one of the luncheon speakers, First District candidate Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs, we expect US Sen. Mark Pryor to likely speak either in person or by live call-in, former Rep. Travis Childers from Mississippi, US Senate candidate for Mississippi is confirmed and we are inviting US Sen. Thad Cochran.

Rep. Tom Cotton indicated he likely will need to send in a letter with his views due to scheduling issues. We will have distinguished grassroots leaders from all eight states.

We have confirmed additional distinguished speakers for this conference in:

–the Hon. Rodney Slater, US Secretary of Transportation for President Clinton and now a partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington, DC;

–Bob Nash, senior White House aide to President Clinton and now president of Bob J. Nash & Associates;

–Bo Ryall, CEO of Arkansas Hospital Association to discuss the private option health care plan;

–Anna Strong, Executive Director of Child Advocacy and Public Health for Arkansas Children’s Hospital; and

–Executive Director Lynnette Watts of the Women’s Foundation for Arkansas, which is working with the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on research to inform the public about where we have made progress on women’s issues, where we still have a ways to go-knowing the facts is essential in devising actions in addressing full civic, political and economic participation for women and girls across our region.

Key issues will include job creation/retention, the private option health care plan and other health care issues, USDA nutrition, rural development and agriculture programs, transportation improvements including Interstate 69, women and children’s issues and their impact on regional community and economic development, broadband expansion, the Delta Queen bill and other Delta heritage tourism initiatives, and other regional issues.

We will have a dialogue with the major candidates for US Senate, US House and Governor and include grassroots leaders from all eight states of the Greater Delta Region.

PLEASE MAKE YOUR GROUP HOTEL RESERVATIONS ASAP, BECAUSE THIS CONFERENCE TAKES PLACE AT HALLOWEEN AND THE HOTELS MAY BE FULL UP IF YOU WAIT UNTIL TOO CLOSE TO HALLOWEEN TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION.

HOTELS: Please make your hotel reservations ASAP, because this conference takes place at Halloween and that is a very busy time for the hotels. If you wait closer to Halloween they may be full up when you call.

The two best hotels in Helena-West Helena are the following:

Best Western Inn: Please call the hotel at (870) 572-2592 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group. The rates range from about $89 to $94 plus tax, depending on the size room you request for the nights of Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Many people just stay the one night of Oct. 30.

THE EDWARDIAN INN: This is an elegant bed and breakfast in Helena-West Helena, set in a stately home built by a wealthy Helena cotton trader in 1904. Please call the Edwardian Inn at (870) 338-9155 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the lower rate of $83 for Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Many people will just stay the one night of Oct. 30. We have a bloc of 10 rooms.

Please reserve your room at the Edwardian Inn as soon as possible, because the closer it gets to Halloween the greater likelihood may be that they will be full up.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS MESSAGE

  1. ROUGH DRAFT OF AGENDA–(Note: there are always last-minute changes in the agenda that are beyond our control)

2. KEY ISSUES

3.GROUP HOTEL INFORMATION

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Major Political Figures & Grassroots Leaders at Delta Event--Helena, Oct. 30-31

Posted on October 09, 2014 at 01:11 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Helena-West Helena AR on Oct. 30-31 features US Sen. John Boozman, Mike Ross, Asa Hutchinson, First District Congressman Rick Crawford, First District candidate Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs; we expect US Sen. Mark Pryor to likely speak either in person or by live call-in, ; and we are inviting US Sen. Thad Cochran and former Rep. Travis Childers from Mississippi. We will have distinguished grassroots leaders from all eight states.

Key issues will include job creation/retention, the private option health care plan and other health care issues, USDA nutrition, rural development and agriculture programs, transportation improvements including Interstate 69, women and children’s issues and their impact on regional community and economic development, broadband expansion, the Delta Queen bill and other Delta heritage tourism initiatives, and other regional issues.

The early registration deadline ends in six days on Oct. 15–next Wednesday–for the annual fall Delta Grassroots Caucus on Oct. 30-31 in Helena-West Helena, and late registration fees go up to a higher late fee of $115 after that deadline. Space is also filling up and that will have to be allotted on a first-come, first served basis.

The only exception to the higher late fees are people who learned of the conference and late and did not know about the early registration deadline.

We will have a dialogue with the major candidates for US Senate, US House and Governor and include grassroots leaders from all eight states of the Greater Delta Region.

You register by sending in the registration fees, which are $75 for those who have paid their annual dues or are part of a larger group discount rate for a local area bringing a significant number, or $100 for individuals who have not paid their annual dues.

Turnout is very strong due to the central, advantageous location of Helena at the center of the region.

The conference is less than three weeks away and early registration is next week, so we need to ask everybody to register now.

Please make out the registration fees to “Delta Caucus and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

After Oct. 15 the late registration fees go up to $115 to provide an incentive to get the registration fees in on time. It causes complications for our planning, budget and timing at the conference if many people wait to pay just before the conference starts or at the front desk while the conference is beginning.

PLEASE MAKE YOUR GROUP HOTEL RESERVATIONS ASAP, BECAUSE THIS CONFERENCE TAKES PLACE AT HALLOWEEN AND THE HOTELS MAY BE FULL UP IF YOU WAIT UNTIL TOO CLOSE TO HALLOWEEN TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATION.

Group hotel registration information for the Helena-West Helena area hotels–the Best Western Inn and the Edwardian Inn–is below in this email.

BASIC SCHEDULE

Thursday, Oct. 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in Helena-West Helena, AR at Beth El Heritage Hall

Friday, Oct. 31 from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. in Helena-West Helena, AR at Beth El Heritage Hall

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

  1. KEY SPEAKERS

  2. KEY ISSUES

  3. GROUP HOTELS INFORMATION

The major candidates for Governor, US Senate, US House, have not all confirmed their exact times and even in cases where they have, their schedules are so hectic that they may change their times again before the conference. Some tentative information follows:

Gubernatorial candidates Asa Hutchinson and Mike Ross are scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, Oct. 31. Congressman Rick Crawford speaks at the luncheon on Friday, Oct. 31, and of course Helena-West Helena is in the heart of his Congressional District.

First District candidate Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs (Democratic nominee for the First District) is scheduled for some point on Friday morning. US Sen. John Boozman is scheduled to speak on Thursday, Oct. 30, at about 5:30 p.m. at the opening session.

We do not know yet when US Sen. Mark Pryor, Rep. Rick Crawford, former Rep. and US Senate candidate for Mississippi Travis Childers, Sen. Thad Cochran (invited–R-MS), and other major candidates will speak. Both the Thursday, Oct. 30 and Friday, Oct. 31 sessions are important.

Secretary Hillary Clinton is invited to make a live call-in about the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings initiative for full economic, social and political participation of women and girls in the eight-state Delta and across the globe.

We have expressed to Secretary Clinton and the Foundation staff our deep concerns about the disturbingly high poverty rates among women and children in our region–and of course we know there are many men also suffering economically in the Delta as well–and she is very knowledgeable and deeply concerned about these issues as well. We expect to hear about her availability soon.

3) HOTELS in Helena-West Helena:

Please make your hotel reservations ASAP, because this conference takes place at Halloween and that is a very busy time for the hotels. If you wait closer to Halloween they may be full up when you call.

The two best hotels in Helena-West Helena are the following:

Best Western Inn: Please call the hotel at (870) 572-2592 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group. The rates range from about $89 to $94 plus tax, depending on the size room you request for the nights of Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Many people just stay the one night of Oct. 30.

THE EDWARDIAN INN: This is an elegant bed and breakfast in Helena-West Helena, set in a stately home built by a wealthy Helena cotton trader in 1904. Please call the Edwardian Inn at (870) 338-9155 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the lower rate of $83 for Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Many people will just stay the one night of Oct. 30. We have a bloc of 10 rooms.

Please reserve your room at the Edwardian Inn as soon as possible, because the closer it gets to Halloween the greater likelihood may be that they will be full up.

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Early Registration Ends on Oct. 15, & Space Filling Up--Please Register ASAP

Posted on October 03, 2014 at 12:56 PM

The early registration deadline ends soon on Oct. 15–less than two weeks–for the annual fall Delta Grassroots Caucus on Oct. 30-31 in Helena-West Helena, and late registration fees go up to a higher late after that deadline. Space is also filling up and that will have to be allotted on a first-come, first served basis.

We will have a dialogue with the major candidates for US Senate, US House and Governor and include grassroots leaders from all eight states of the Greater Delta Region.

You register by sending in the registration fees, which are $75 for those who have paid their annual dues or are part of a larger group discount rate for a local area bringing a significant number, or $100 for individuals who have not paid their annual dues.

Turnout is very strong due to the central, advantageous location of Helena at the center of the region.

The conference is less than four weeks away and early registration is less than two weeks away so we need to ask everybody to register now.

Please make out the registration fees to “Delta Caucus and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

After Oct. 15 the late registration fees go up to $115 to provide an incentive to get the registration fees in on time. It causes complications for our planning, budget and timing at the conference if many people wait to pay just before the conference starts or at the front desk while the conference is beginning.

GROUP HOTEL LOWER DISCOUNT RATES EXPIRE ON OCT. 9, THURSDAY OF NEXT WEEK: Group hotel registration information for the Helena-West Helena area is below in this email.

BASIC SCHEDULE

Thursday, Oct. 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in Helena-West Helena, AR at Beth El Heritage Hall

Friday, Oct. 31 from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. in Helena-West Helena, AR at Beth El Heritage Hall

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

  1. KEY SPEAKERS

  2. KEY ISSUES

  3. GROUP HOTEL INFORMATION

The major candidates for Governor, US Senate, US House, have not all confirmed their exact times and even in cases where they have, their schedules are so hectic that they may change their times again before the conference. Some tentative information follows:

Gubernatorial candidates Asa Hutchinson and Mike Ross are scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, Oct. 31. First District candidate Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs is scheduled for some point on Friday. We do not know yet when Rep. Rick Crawford, former Rep. and US Senate candidate for Mississippi Travis Childers, Sen. Thad Cochran (invited–R-MS), and other major candidates will speak. Both the Thursday, Oct. 30 and Friday, Oct. 31 sessions are important.

Secretary Hillary Clinton is invited to make a live call-in about the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings initiative for full economic, social and political participation of women and girls in the eight-state Delta and across the globe. We have expressed to her and the Foundation staff our deep concerns about the disturbingly high poverty rates among women and children in our region–and of course we know there are many men also suffering economically in the Delta as well–and she is very knowledgeable and deeply concerned about these issues as well. We expect to hear about her availability soon.

2) KEY ISSUES WILL BE:

–job creation/retention,

–health care for underserved populations including Arkansas’ innovative private option,

–transportation improvements including progress on Interstate 69,

–the farm bill’s implementation and USDA nutrition, rural development and agriculture programs,

–women’s issues such as equal pay for equal work and greater opportunities for women in business, elected office and nonprofits in the Delta,

–education and worforce development,

–broadband expansion,

–Delta heritage tourism including support for the Delta Queen bill to allow that historic steamboat to again travel on the Mississippi, and other regional community and economic development issues.

We cover a broad range of issues, but we do want to give some special attention to women and children’s issues this year. Our attention to women and children’s issues is due to the alarmingly high poverty rates of women and children in our region. We want to include women in the economic contribution they make in the region, including women involved in farming, small business, etc.

In general, due to the alarmingly high poverty rates for those two sections of the population in our region, and we are also collaborating with the Clinton Foundation on Hillary Clinton’s No Ceilings initiative for full economic and political participation of women and girls. We know that there are plenty of men who are hurting in our region, too, but the statistics are even worse for women and children, especially single mothers heading households and children.

The location is the beautiful, historic former synagogue in Helena-West Helena now called Beth El Heritage Hall.

Other participants include:

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AR Hunger Relief Alliance Message Supporting the Summer Meals Act & WIC

Posted on September 15, 2014 at 04:42 PM

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is a great organization that engages in a wide variety of constructive activities regarding hunger and nutrition. We are forwarding a message from them urging support for the Summer Meals Act, which has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Please contact your Members of Congress in support of this bill, as well as WIC (Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and other vital nutrition programs.

Rachel Townsend of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance gave a great presentation at our June 12-13, 2014 Delta Caucus conference at the Clinton Library and we have frequently collaborated with them over the years.

The hunger and nutrition issues will be very important as always for our Delta Caucus fall conference on Oct. 30-31, 2014 at Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, because of the high food insecurity, obesity, diabetes, heart-related maladies and other nutrition-related health issues.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Registration for Oct. 30-31, 2014 Delta Caucus fall conference in Helena-West Helena AR

2. Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance on the Summer Meals Act

3. Information on the WIC program

For more information on the schedule, speakers, group hotel of the Oct. 30-31, 2014 Delta conference in Helena-West Helena, please see the “Caucus Articles” link and scroll to the articles about the Helena Delta Caucus conference.

PLEASE SEND IN EARLY REGISTRATION FEES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FOR OCT. 30-31 DELTA CONFERENCE IN HELENA—SPACE IS LIMITED.

You register by mailing in the registration fee checks by the Oct. 15 early registration fee deadline.

Registration fees are $75 for those who have paid their annual membership dues or those who are part of a group of five or more who receive a group discount.

Registration fees are $100 for individuals who have not paid their annual membership dues.

Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

LATE REGISTRATION FEES ARE INCREASED BY $40 AFTER OCT. 15, IN MOST CASES RESULTING IN HIGHER LATE FEES OF $115. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE CONFERENCE ITSELF TO PAY YOUR REGISTRATION.

The Summer Meals Act of 2014

The Summer Meals Act of 2014, S. 2527 H.R. 5012, introduced by a bipartisan group in Congress, would strengthen, protect and expand access to the Summer Nutrition Programs that help reduce childhood hunger and combat childhood obesity experienced by low-income children in the summer months. The bill will support educational and enrichment programs that keep children learning, engaged, and safe when school is not in session.

In July, 2013, nearly three million had summer lunches on an average today, reaching only one in seven of the low-income children who rely on school lunch during the school year.

What are the Summer Nutrition Programs?

The Summer Nutrition Programs (the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program) provide federal funding to serve nutritious meals and snacks during summer break when low-income children lose access to free and reduced-price school meals.

The meals are served at sites such as summer programs, summer school, parks and recreation centers, Ys, and Boys and Girls Clubs that are located in a low- income area or that serve primarily low-income children. The vast majority of sites offer learning, enrichment, and/or recreational activities in addition to nutritious meals.

What does the bill propose?

Improve the area eligibility test to allow communities to participate if 40 percent of the children in the area are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Currently, a summer meal site qualifies if 50 percent or more of children in the area qualify for free or reduced-price school meals as defined by school or census data. This threshold keeps many communities with significant numbers of low-income children, but not a high enough concentration of poverty, from participating.

In addition, the 50 percent test is inconsistent with federally funded summer programs, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Center programs and Title I, which require at least 40 percent. These important education programs should all be able to provide summer meals.

Allow local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations to feed children year-round through the Sum- mer Food Service Program. Currently, sponsors must apply to and operate both the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in order to feed children—often the same children—after school and during the summer. This creates duplicative paperwork and confusing administrative rules that discourage participation.

Provide funding for transportation grants to fund innovative approaches and mobile meal trucks. Transportation is one of the biggest barriers to participation, and these grants will increase low-income children’s access to summer meals in rural and other under-served areas.

Allow all sites to serve a third meal. Many summer meal sites provide child care to working parents and run all day, but most sites are only able to serve a maximum of two meals. This leaves children without enough nutrition to get through the day or forces sites to use program dollars for food.

How Will the Summer Meals Act Benefit My Community?

Combat childhood hunger and obesity. The Summer Nutrition Programs replace the breakfasts, lunches, after school meals, and snacks that children receive during the school day, giving low-income children access to the healthy meals their bodies need.

Keep children safe, learning, and out of trouble. The meals help draw children into educational, enrichment, and recreational activities which are important tools for combating summer learning loss, reducing juvenile crime and teen pregnancy, and supporting working parents.

Provide states federal child nutrition funding that will create jobs and generate economic activity. The Summer Nutrition Programs bring federal dollars into local communities that must be used to support providing meals, such as to purchase food, pay salaries and cover transportation costs.

About WIC by Monica Davidson—from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

Date: 04.09.2014 | By: Nancy Conley | Blog

WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is a federal program, funded by a grant given to WIC State Agencies. This allows for only a certain amount of funding each year, as opposed to SNAP benefits where Congress sets aside enough funds for all eligible individuals to participate (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials).

WIC is based upon research showing that pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as infants and young children benefit from better and more consistent nutrition.

“WIC is a lifesaver when it comes to helping you get healthy things for your children in the first few years of life, and the fact that WIC will also help pregnant women [is great]. It was a great thing to have when Jasmine was little,” said former WIC mom, Kali.

WIC has led to lower health care costs by decreasing the number of preterm births and low birth-weight infants, which results in fewer illnesses and health issues.

Good prenatal and early childhood nutrition has been shown to increase vocabulary scores and significantly improve memory (USDA).

By investing in these children’s early nutrition, we are investing in our nation’s future. Because of the importance of early nutrition, the income threshold for WIC benefits is higher than that for SNAP (a maximum of 185% of the federal poverty income guideline, versus 100% for SNAP), making more women with slightly higher incomes eligible for WIC benefits.

WIC provides parents with children under the age of 5 access to items necessary for a well-rounded, balanced diet, for at least part of the month. In contrast to the generality of SNAP benefits, WIC allows families to purchase only specific foods, such as peanut butter, milk, and whole grain bread. Like many assistance programs, however, stretching the supply to last the entire month is largely impossible, but the benefits can help ease a financial situation that could otherwise prove terribly difficult.

Cooking Matters and Cooking Matters at the Store (WIC parents version available) helps parents better understand what they can get with their WIC benefits, as well as how to make the items they get last longer and provide healthier meal choices. Both events provide parents with the knowledge to be shopping savvy and the opportunity to learn new recipes, either by practicing them in class (Cooking Matters) or by providing copies of relevant recipes (Cooking Matters at the Store).

WIC parents can learn about ways to prepare vegetables, fruits, and beans (those dried beans can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated), and Cooking Matters at the Store gives parents the opportunity to learn not only how to shop smarter, but gives them a chance to practice these skills with a professional on hand to ask questions.

WIC offices also provide a support network to encourage mothers to breastfeed, which is recognized as the “optimal source of nutrition for infants.” (USDA) WIC offices provide enhanced nutritional packages to mothers who breastfeed, as well as one-to-one peer support and breast pumps or other aids needed to facilitate breastfeeding. Data has shown that breastfeeding participation by WIC recipients has increased .08% between 2011 and 2012 (USDA).

Mothers who choose to formula feed or are unable to breastfeed are provided with formula through WIC in place of the enhanced benefits available to breastfeeding mothers. This is beneficial to families in that formula feeding can prove costly— averaging $70 a month for the average 6 month old (Bonyata).

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