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Funding for nutrition programs informed by census statistics

Posted Feb. 5, 2020

a child getting lunch
Knowing how many children are in an area helps federal, state and local officials evaluate funding for nutrition programs.

We all know fresh fruits and vegetables are key to good health. Yet many low-income neighborhoods have limited access to fresh produce.

That’s why programs such as the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the National School Lunch Program are vital to the health of communities.

Knowing how many children are in an area helps federal, state and local officials evaluate funding for nutrition programs.

SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps, provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budgets of families “so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which manages the program.

The 2020 Census will help officials plan for SNAP and other federal nutrition programs for the next 10 years. SNAP receives approximately $71 billion a year in federal funds.

National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs

What began at the end of the 19th century as a school lunch program in Boston and  Philadelphia is now the National School Lunch Program, a nationwide, government-funded school nutrition program.

In 2016, more than 30.4 million children received free or low-cost meals in their school cafeterias, according to the USDA. The program varies from school to school. 

All U.S. schools provide free or reduced-price meals to economically-disadvantaged students. But some schools offer meals at no cost to all of their students if at least 40% of them receive SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families assistance. Some qualifying students also have access to meals during summer months when school is out.

The Census Bureau is working to educate the public that young children should be counted if they live and sleep in a home most of the time. A newborn should be counted if he or she was born on or before April 1, 2020.

According to the Census Bureau, children living in homes where the adults have limited English-speaking skills or are living in poverty are also more likely to be missed.

Food assistance programs critical for low-income children, families

According to the Census Bureau, of the 13.8 million households that receive SNAP, 6.7 million have children under the age of 18 and 6.4 million have someone living with a disability.

Of all the homes with children under 18, about 18% receive assistance from SNAP, according to the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. Students who qualify for SNAP also get free or reduced-cost school lunches.

Federal nutrition programs are among the many reasons it is so important to respond (and report all children, including newborns, living in your home) to the  2020 Census.

Knowing how many children are in an area helps federal, state and local officials evaluate funding for nutrition programs.

SNAP and the National School Lunch Program are just two nutrition programs that use census results to inform planning. Other programs include the National School Breakfast Program, lunch programs for people age 65 years and older and meal delivery to disabled and homebound individuals.

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Library to host free Orchestra concert: 2 p.m. Feb. 23, 2020; Fort Worth Public Library, 500 W. 3rd Street.

Building Standards Commission Pre-Meeting: 9 a.m. Feb. 24, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Building Standards Commission Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 24, 2020; City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Trinity Metro Board of Directors Meeting: 3:30 p.m. Feb. 24, 2020; Fort Worth Central Station, Downtown Fort Worth, 2nd Floor Community Room, 1001 Jones St.
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Altamesa Boulevard Sidewalks Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 24, 2020; Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.

Canceled Disciplinary Appeal of Two-Day Suspension of Timothy Fornash: 9 a.m. Feb. 25, 2020; Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Camellia Room, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
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Meet and Confer Negotiations between the City of Fort Worth and Fort Worth Police Officers Association: 2 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; Bob Boen Public Safety Complex, Police Training Classroom No. 1135, 505 W Felix St.
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Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Donnelly Avenue & Sanguinet Street Sidewalks Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; Amon Carter Center at Lena Pope, 3200 Sanguinet St.

Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Warrant Forgiveness: 9 a.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Boys & Girls Club, 3123 Avenue G..

Fort Worth Sports Authority, Inc. Board Meeting: 10 a.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Fort Worth Convention Center, Executive Board Room, 1201 Houston St.
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Metropolitan Area EMS Authority DBA MedStar Mobile Healthcare Board of Directors: 10 a.m. Feb. 26, 2020; MedStar Mobile Healthcare, 2900 Alta Mere Drive.
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City Plan Commission Work Session: noon Feb. 26, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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City Plan Commission Public Hearing: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Park and Recreation Advisory Board Work Session: 3 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Ganden Blvd.
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Park and Recreation Advisory Board Meeting: 4 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
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Beach & Basswood Intersection Improvements Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Summerglen Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd.

Warrant Forgiveness : 9 a.m. Feb. 27, 2020; Como Community Center, 4660 Horne St.

The Regional Transportation Council Meeting: 10 a.m. Feb. 27, 2020; The Transportation Council Room, 1st Floor, North Central Texas Council of Governments, 616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, TX 76011.
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Marine Creek Ranch Park Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 27, 2020; Parkview Elementary School, 6225 Crystal Lake Drive.

Deferred Compensation Oversight Committee: 9 a.m. Feb. 28, 2020; Fort Worth Credit Union Board Room, 2309 Montgomery St.
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