Tuesday, March 03, 2015

USDA awards $27 million for pilot projects to end childhood hunger in rural and food insecure areas

On Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it has awarded more than $27 million in grants to fund pilot projects to help end childhood hunger in rural and food insecure areas in Nevada, Kentucky, Virginia and the Chicksaw and Navajo nations.

The projects "are designed to test innovative strategies to end childhood hunger, including alternative models for service delivery and benefit levels that promote the reduction or elimination of childhood hunger and food insecurity," says a press release. "An independent evaluation will accompany this project to measure impact and identify successful strategies. The projects will be evaluated primarily based on their ability to reduce food insecurity among children."

Projects are:
  • Chickasaw Nation: The Chickasaw Nation will implement the Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services Demonstration Project to End Childhood Hunger, which will provide food through home delivery to households with children who qualify for free school meals. Grant amount: $9.7 million.
  • Kentucky: The Commonwealth of Kentucky will implement the Ticket to Healthy Food Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Demonstration, which will test the impact of providing households with children an additional transportation deduction that may increase their SNAP benefits. The project will serve the Kentucky Highlands area in the southeastern part of the state–a designated Promise Zone. Grant amount: $3.6 million.
  • Navajo Nation: The Navajo Nation Division of Health will implement the Food Access Navigation Project, which will employ Food Access Navigators to evaluate assets and gaps in food access in selected regions of the reservation and provide technical assistance for connecting eligible households to nutrition assistance programs. Grant amount: $2.4 million.
  • Nevada: The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health will implement the Nevada SNAP Enhancement Demonstration Project to test the relative impacts on SNAP households with children of (1) an increase in SNAP benefits, and (2) a SNAP increase plus additional outreach, education, and case management. Grant amount: $3.1 million.
  • Virginia: The Virginia Department of Education will implement the Virginia Hunger-Free Kids Act Demonstration Project, which will test the impact of providing (1) three school meals a day to all children in select schools during the school year, (2) food for weekends and school breaks, and (3) more resources for low-income households to purchase food during the summer months. Grant amount: $8.8 million.

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