Best of Neighborhood News 4/4: New Minnesota House bill could limit SNAP food benefits


Rep. Kelly Fenton (R-Woodbury) has put forth a bill that would eliminate SNAP benefits (commonly called “food stamps”)  for regions that do not meet federal employment requirements. As of now, 29 counties and 12 American Indian reservations are exempt from the work requirement, and these numbers could go down with the new bill, impacting Native and rural populations most. “Jessica Webster, staff attorney with the Legal Services Advocacy Project, said the bill would be more stringent than federal law. She said the proposal gives her ‘heartache’ because 47,000 able-bodied Minnesota adults without dependents have already lost access to food since the work requirement was reinstated in 2013.”
See more information at the Session Daily. Protesters demand justice in response to police violence

Protesters gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center in response to recent police killings nationally as well as locally, with the prosecution of Officer Mohamed Noor in the case of Justine Damond. Continue Reading

Laurie Radovsky finds healthy way to take the Food Stamp Challenge in Minneapolis

Can people eat healthy if they have just $31.50 to buy food for a week?This was a question that Laurie Radovsky, a participant in the Twin Cities Food Stamp Challenge, asked herself. As a family doctor, she tells her clients that it is possible to eat healthy without spending hundreds of dollars for food. Now she used the Food Stamp Challenge as an opportunity to test her own conviction. That meant committing to shop and eat for a week on a budget of $31.50 per person — the amount that, on average, food stamp recipients receive.(See article describing the 2012 Food Stamp Challenge here.)Before she went shopping, Radovsky and her husband sat down and discussed what she would buy. They tried to rank the groceries in an order of what is essential for daily life and what is luxury. This was not easy, as her husband ranked coffee as essential but Radovsky said she would do without it.They both agreed that milk, bread, hard cheese, eggs, cottage cheese and potatoes are essential daily needs. They also agree that, to have a healthy diet, people have to eat at least two to three servings of fruits and vegetables a day.As Radovsky entered Cub Foods, she immediately heeded for the fruit section and bought apples. Continue Reading

Minnesota Jews, Christians and Muslims take Food Stamp Challenge together

Can we imagine what does it mean to live on a food allowance of $31.50 per week?  Participants in the Twin Cities  Food Stamp Challenge week, November 11-18, now have a lot better idea of what it takes.  Members of 15  groups took the Food Stamp Challenge from November 11-18.  They  tried to buy groceries from the $31.50 allowance that is the national average per person for food stamp recipients, and to eat for one week just from the purchased goods. This year was the second time that Rabbi Amy Eilberg had participated in the challenge and she had already made a list of essential things she wanted to buy. As she talked about her list at the opening gathering on November 11, one of the listeners raised his hand.The man asked:  “Is anyone here poor?” Nobody raised his hand.55-year-old, Dennis Boe then said, “Because I am.” He got excited and claimed that this challenge would just be a game. Continue Reading