SNAP

Commentary: To Solve The Hidden Epidemic Of Teen Hunger, Listen To Those Who Experience It

Dec 26, 2019
Photos of food, including Cheerios, fried chicken, barbecue and water bottles.
Courtesy Stephanie Clintonia Boddie

For many young people, the toughest choice they will ever have to make about food is what to eat at home or what to choose from a menu.

But for Texas high schoolers Tamiya, Juliana, Trisha, Cara and Kristen, the choices they have to make about food are more difficult. For them, the conversation is less about food and more about how to put food on the table.

Some low-income college students are among the 688,000 food stamp recipients projected to lose benefits as a result of a Trump administration rule announced Dec. 4.

Vanessa Wilson
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

*Correction appended.

Vanessa Wilson’s white Chevy SUV has sat untouched on the patch of land outside her family’s trailer in Austin for months. It’ll be there for a while.

Friday is the last day for the public to comment on a proposed rule change by the Trump administration that would eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps, for more than 3 million people.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also recently admitted that the plan would mean that almost a million children would no longer automatically qualify for free school lunches.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration is closer to banning some low-income, legal immigrants who are relying on public services like food stamps from legally entering the United States.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Kevin Drapela and his wife, Cori-Beth Tuite, found themselves at a food bank Wednesday – something they never expected.

The IRS employees from Taylor were among the federal workers who attended a resource fair hosted by the Central Texas Food Bank in response to the ongoing government shutdown.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas health officials say they’re going to provide next month’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits early due to the federal government shutdown.

USDA/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Several Texas news outlets are reporting about how volunteers are helping those experiencing food insecurity this Thanksgiving. But how much attention is focused on those who grow and harvest the food, or those who rely on food stamps? Both issues are part of the massive federal farm bill that's set to expire soon, and with Congress away for Thanksgiving, certain crop subsidies, federal nutrition assistance programs and more are in limbo.

After 10 years of consistent gains, the number of immigrant families enrolled in SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, fell by 10 percent in 2018.

KUT

The Trump administration last weekend publicly released a draft of new rules for people hoping to immigrate legally in the U.S. Overall, the changes would disproportionally affect mixed-status families with low incomes in Texas.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Congress is considering provisions in the latest farm bill that would roll back eligibility and impose strict work requirements for people receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.  

About 3.8 million Texans rely on SNAP, the largest program for feeding low-income Americans.