Cross Agency Initiative Will Restore SNAP Cuts Included in Federal
BOSTON -- Tuesday, March 18, 2014 -- Governor Deval Patrick today
announced steps to preserve Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program
(SNAP) benefits for approximately 163,000 households in Massachusetts
and avoid the loss of approximately $142 million in SNAP benefits set
tobe cut under the recently enacted federal Farm Bill.
"Government's role is to help people help themselves, and these steps
are necessary to help our most vulnerable residents and families meet
their most basic needs," said Governor Patrick.
Under the plan, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) will
partner with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to provide at least $20 in heating assistance to eligible families
through the H-EAT program, which makes them eligible for an increase of
$80 in monthly SNAP benefits to help families pay for food. DHCD will
invest approximately $3 million to support the continuation of the
program and leverage the additional SNAP benefits for these families.
The investment will also help maintain economic stability for families
and businesses in Massachusetts, as each SNAP dollar spent generates
approximately $2 in economic activity for the state, according to the USDA.
"Reversing the cuts from the Farm Bill is a major step in helping
Massachusetts families work toward economic stability," said Secretary
of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz. "Any cut in benefit, no
matter the size, has a real impact on low-income families, and this
funding supports a program that makes a difference every day."
"This program continues to be a valuable resource for residents across
the Commonwealth," said Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary of the
Department of Housing and Community Development. "As the Administrator of the LIHEAP program, DHCD is pleased to join our sister agency in preventing cuts to the food stamp benefits that our neediest families have been receiving.
The heating assistance, known as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, is federal assistance provided to the state to help low-income families defray heating costs.
"I'm so proud of Governor Patrick and his Administration for stepping up
and providing these resources to help some of our most vulnerable
neighbors," said Congressman Jim McGovern. "Despite what Speaker Boehner said last week (ironically, on the same day he invited Pope Francis to address a joint session of Congress), this effort is not 'fraud' or
'cheating' -- it's an effort by states like Massachusetts to provide
food to hungry families."
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps)
is a fully federally-funded food benefit program administered by the
Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance on behalf of the
United States Department of Agriculture. The Department helps nearly one
in seven residents throughout the Commonwealth meet their most basic needs.
Spring Gospel Concert
Featuring Moonlight Davis, Gospel Vocalist
Sunday, March 30th at 3:00pm
GREENFIELD, MA - Second Congregational Church will be hosting the “Expect A Miracle” spring gospel concert featuring Moonlight Davis, gospel vocalist, with Morning Star and the Gospel Star Singers & Band on Sunday, March 30th at 3:00 pm. Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers will also make a special appearance on saxophone. Moonlight and Morning Star have been singing together for 15 years, performing all over the East Coast, both as a duo and with their band. A Moonlight and Morning Star concert takes audiences into a world of diverse music, with unique interpretations of jazz standards, beloved R&B classics, Gospel, Jewish soul, and originals. They have a unique ability to reach people through the mediums of music and spoken word.
Moonlight, known for his blues and Gospel interpretations, is a master of harmony. The blend of his resonant voice with Morning Star’s lighter, lilting tone, have delighted and engaged people from Maine to Virginia. Morning Star’s spoken word pieces delve deeply into both personal and universal themes and are set to vocal and instrumental music, largely composed and arranged by Moonlight.
Mr. Davis has worked throughout the Pioneer Valley to promote social justice, multi-cultural awareness and empowerment for young people. Morning Star Chenven is a singer/songwriter, poet and educator. Her songs and poems reflect life with themes of life transitions, love, laughter, loss, and an honoring of Spirit.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Stone Soup Café located at the All Souls Church, 399 Main Street in Greenfield, MA. The café is a pay-what-you-can community meal program providing wholesome meals individuals and families in a safe, family-friendly environment.
Tickets to the show will be available starting on March 16th at World Eye Bookshop located at 156 Main Street, Greenfield, MA. The ticket price is $15.00 for Adults, $12.00 Students, and Free to children10 & under.
The Second Congregational Church is located on the common in Greenfield, MA at 16 Court Square. Parking is available on the street and in a town lots behind the church and off Olive Street.
For more information regarding Moonlight and Morning Star, visit: www.moonlightandmorningstar.com
At a Franklin County Farm & Food System Project Advisory Group Meeting, business, nonprofit and government leaders discussed how to increase access to local food. Andrew Morehouse, the director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusettes, said they are leading a campaign to seek more farm donors.
One of the farmers said the Food Bank is asking the wrong people because many farmers are on SNAP (food stamps). Morehouse explained that over a dozen farms contribute substantial amounts of crops to the Food Bank that wouldn’t otherwise be sold. Morehouse's assertion that farms can contribute proved true.
After the meeting, Chris Coffin, who runs Eden Pond Farm, approached me and generously offered 50 frozen chickens 3.5-5 lbs, which we accepted. On the 22nd of March we will be introducing the Eden Pond Farm Chickens to the Cafe family as our main dish.
A little about Eden Pond Farm (from their CISA page)
Founded in 2011, Eden Pond Farm is a 100 acre operation located at 316 Eden Trail in Bernardston, MA. Some of what they grow is available year-round.
No need to worry which came first, the chicken or the egg, because we have them both! Our pastured birds happily forage in our untreated hillside pastures and are fed New England-sourced grain free of hormones and antibiotics. Our slow-growing heritage breed meat chickens are especially tender and flavorful, and available fresh or frozen. We sell chicken and eggs retail from our farm and through CSAs; we are expanding our markets so visit our website for updates on where you can find our products.
Interested in a relaxing week or weekend away from it all? Our picturesque barn apartment sleeps four and is a great spot from which to hike, bike or simply sit on the porch and watch the world go by. See our website for more information.