Food stamps will soon require 20 hours of work or classes in NC

Food stamp recipients in North Carolina soon will lose benefits unless they prove they’re working, volunteering or taking classes for at least 20 hours a week.

That federal requirement – which applies to adults under 50 who don’t have children – was suspended in 2008 as the recession hit and unemployment rates rose. But the exemption ended Jan. 1 for 23 mostly urban counties across the state, including Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg.

While the 77 other counties are seeing a slower economic recovery and could continue the federal exemption, the state legislature acted last year to restore the work and education requirement statewide starting July 1.

The change affects 115,000 North Carolinians who will have to document work, volunteer or education activities or lose their food stamp benefits. Recipients can still get up to three months of benefits without meeting the requirement.

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5 Thoughts From Pope Francis on Feeding the World

Pope Francis greets people as he arrives on his papamobile for his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 1, 2013. Pope Francis urged political leaders to make every effort to create jobs and said unemployment was caused by economic thinking "outside the bounds of social justice." AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

September 22, 2015 by Mary Beth Albright




Even Even though my suggested hashtag for the Pope’s visit to Washington, #TheHolyDSee, is sadly not in heavy rotation, I’m still excited for his arrival Tuesday. And not because of the specialty beers or the “Pope Specials” at restaurants whose reach doesn’t extend beyond low-hanging fruit.

I’m excited because Pope Francis I’s relationship to food goes far beyond “Popecorn” sold in little paper hats to people lined up along his motorcade route. He has spoken publicly and repeatedly about healthy food access and the “scandal” of hunger and malnutrition (which are different things—people can be obese and malnourished). It should not come as a surprise that a Christian leader would call hunger a scandal. After all, Christian churches’ stated goal is to be like Jesus, who famously fed 5,000 people at a hilltop peace rally (and a pescetarian diet of loaves and fishes at that).

Even thought he’s been Pope for only two and a half years, Francis has made a bigger splash to date than many popes during their decades-long service. You don’t have to be a Catholic to care about what he calls the “paradox of abundance,” where we make enough food but not everyone can eat, just as one doesn’t have to be a Tibetian Buddhist to agree with some of the Dalai Lama’s ideas. These quotes are calls to action—thoughts and meditations on the future of food and what can happen if we pay attention … and what may happen if we don’t.

“Our grandparents used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food. Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value. Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and hungry.” June 5, 2013
“The first concern for all of us when considering food production is the human person and all those who are victims of hunger.” May 1, 2015
“It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous.” June 20, 2013
“[We can] give a voice to those who suffer silently from hunger, and this voice can become a roar that shakes the world. This campaign is also an invitation for all of us to become more conscious about our food choices, which often lead to waste and a poor use of the resources available to us. It is also a reminder to stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger firsthand.” December 19, 2013
“We need to find ways to all benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality, and respect for every human being.” June 20, 2013

ThePlate, National Geographic Magazine


Nutritious Food out of Reach for 20 Percent of U.S. Homes with Children

Written by Brian Krans | Published on September 1, 2015Brownie

Without access to nutritious food, children face risk factors for major diseases early in life. This “food insecurity” can also lead to family and psychological problems.

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. households with children lack access to foods that meet the nutritional requirements for an active, healthy lifestyle.

This “food insecurity” comes in many forms.

It includes poverty where a family can’t afford nutritious foods, living in a “food desert” where quality food isn’t available, or having too much junk food in a child’s diet. More at:

Executive Mansion Lit Up for Hunger Action Month

Sept.Mansion Lit for #Number Action NC 3, 2015
Raleigh, N.C.
The Executive Mansion lit up orange Thursday evening during a lighting ceremony to support Hunger Action Month in North Carolina. N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer hosted the event on behalf of Governor Pat McCrory and First Lady Ann McCrory. N.C. Department of Agriculture Chief Deputy Commissioner David Smith, and Alan Briggs, Executive Director of the N.C. Association of Feeding America Food Banks, also spoke at the event. Read more at:

SECU Members Partner with North Carolina Food Banks for 6 Million Meal Project!

August 8, 2015  Raleigh, N.C. – SECU Foundation Board ChairMcKinley Wooten, Jr. and NC Association of FeedingAmerica Food Banks Executive Director Alan Briggs
met today to sign a $1.2 million Agreement that will
provide North Carolinians in need with 6 million
additional meals over the next 3 years! The grant from
State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members via
their Foundation will add 2 million meals per year to
clients served by North Carolina food banks – that’s
one extra meal per year funded by each of the Credit
Union’s 2 million members.

Poverty Affects The Brain, Causes Lower Test Scores: Study

By Aditya Tejas July 21brain-development, 2015

Whilethe link between poverty and poorer academic scores has long been known, a growing body of evidence is establishing the direct role poverty plays in brain development, which causes a gap between affluent and poor children. A new study published Monday found that almost a fifth of that divide is because of the effects of poverty on the brain.

Researchers from Duke University, North Carolina, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on almost 400 children. They found that children from poorer homes had smaller amounts of gray matter in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe and hippocampus, all of which are critical for long-term memory, emotional regulation and information processing. Read more at:



New initiative to rescue imperfect produce

Perfectly Imperfect PotatoesSWAN QUARTER — Food Bank of the Albemarle is heading a new pilot program designed to eliminate food loss and fight hunger across the state.

On Friday, legislators and business leaders will meet at Pamlico Shores Produce in Hyde County to discuss the new program. The food bank is partnering with Pamlico Shores to rescue lower-grade potatoes and culls that would otherwise be destroyed through installation of a potato bagger, said Annya Soucy, director of communications and special events at Food Bank of the Albemarle. The event will start at 10 a.m. at Pamlico Shores Produce and will lead to a luncheon and panel discussion at Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department.

The USDA will provide a trailer for an estimated 1 million pounds of bagged potatoes to be distributed throughout North Carolina’s seven food banks and, in turn, dispersed among local food pantries, Soucy said.

Where the poor and rich really spend their money

Where people spend money













Lawmakers in several states are urging limits on how welfare recipients use public benefits, suggesting that the poor are buying things like lobster, filet mignon, vacations aboard cruise ships and visits to psychics. It’s an open question whether the problem these proposals aim to solve actually exists, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics just helpfully released new data on how the poor — and the rich — spend their money.

For the first time, the bureau released this data for ten equally sized classes of U.S. households, sorted by income. While the bureau doesn’t have data on lobster and filet mignon, the survey does provide a fascinating level of detail.  More at:

Why entrepreneurs are suddenly finding the beauty in ugly produce

By Whitney Pipkin May 26

Ugly produce is midway through a massive makeover.

Misshapen potatoes, multi-pronged carrots and past-their-prime apples — rebranded as “cosmetically challenged” and “beautiful in their own way” — are coming into vogue. Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing these fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds, if not quite to our grocery shelves. More at:


Why Canned Food Drives Alone Won’t Solve America’s Hunger Crisis

DSC_5982When it comes to hunger in the United States, we’re faced with some scary statistics: according to a 2014 study by Feeding America, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2013. And 20 percent of those households included children.

While approximately 100 million pounds of food is donated to Feeding America food banks each year via canned food drives, these items alone won’t solve the issue of hunger that so many Americans face. Tight budgets, limited volunteers, finite donations, and the short turnarounds required between receiving fresh foods and distributing them to families in need can be challenges in addressing the issue of hunger – and doing so with nutrient-rich foods.

More at: