February 5th, 2014
02:45 PM ET
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Last week, dozens of children at a Utah elementary school had their lunch trays snatched away from them before they could take a bite. Workers at Uintah Elementary School removed the already-served food because some students had negative balances in the accounts used to pay for lunches.

Kenny Thompson didn't want to see that repeated at Houston's Valley Oaks Elementary School. KPRC reports that on Monday, the longtime mentor and tutor paid off the negative lunch account balances of more than 60 students.
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Filed under: Charity • Human Rights • Hunger • Local Heroes • School Lunch


February 5th, 2014
11:45 AM ET
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The concepts of eating ethically and watching where our food comes from have become hot topics in the food world.

CNN’s forthcoming Freedom Project documentary examines the cocoa industry and the work undertaken to combat exploitation of workers throughout the journey from “bean to chocolate bar,” shining a light on the often challenging issue of eating ethically.

Broadly speaking, eating ethically can cover anything from vegetarianism to eating only local produce and boycotting foodstuffs and products which are considered wasteful or exploitative - for many it’s a personal choice.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Environment • Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • iReport • Labor Issues


January 31st, 2014
10:30 AM ET
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Dozens of children at a Utah elementary school had their lunch trays snatched away from them before they could take a bite this week.

Salt Lake City School District officials say the trays were taken away at Uintah Elementary School Tuesday because some students had negative balances in the accounts used to pay for lunches. But they admit the situation should have been handled differently.

Instead of regular lunches, the students were given fruit and milk.

"We don't ever let kids go without any food entirely," Salt Lake City School District spokesman Jason Olsen told CNN affiliate KSL.
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Filed under: Human Rights • Hunger • School Lunch


In wake of SNAP cuts, food banks fall short
January 30th, 2014
05:15 PM ET
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Last Saturday, the Loaves & Fishes food pantry in New Haven, Conn., ran out of food.

Run by the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James, the pantry has been pushed to the brink from recent decisions in Washington that resulted in cuts to food stamps and jobless benefits for the unemployed.

For most of last year, the little food pantry was feeding an average of 225 families a week. Then, starting in November, more families started showing up. That's when Congress failed to extend a recession-era bump in food stamps, which cut $11 less from each recipient's monthly grocery money.

The pantry is now feeding 300 families. And things could get worse.
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Filed under: Farm Bill • Human Rights • Hunger • SNAP


Farm bill may snip $90 a month from food stamps
January 27th, 2014
11:30 PM ET
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A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Monday agreed to a deal on a farm bill that would end direct subsidies to farms in favor of crop insurance.

The deal could trim as much as $90 a month from food stamps for 850,000 recipients.

The farm bill would last five years and needs to pass both chambers and then be signed by the president.
The bill could be passed before the spring planting season. That's significant because farmers need to know early how it might affect prices and what to expect for their corn, wheat or tobacco yields.

The bill changes the current agricultural subsidy system. It ends direct payments to farmers for planting crops and replaces it with a revamped, beefed-up crop insurance program.
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Filed under: Farm Bill • Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • SNAP


January 22nd, 2014
12:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Matt Damon and Gary White are co-founders of Water.org, a nonprofit that helps communities achieve sustainable water systems. They are participating in the World Economic Forum's annual meeting this week to advocate for universal access to safe water and sanitation. This is one in a series of columns CNN Opinion is publishing in association with the Skoll World Forum on people who are finding new ways to help solve the world's biggest problems.

In separate trips to Guatemala and Zambia in the late 1980s and in the early 2000s, we each saw the devastating effect of the water and sanitation crisis firsthand. We saw a world in which basic needs went drastically unmet - where a lack of safe water and sanitation robbed men, women and children of health, hope and even life.

In the time it takes us to fill a glass of water - about 21 seconds - a child in some part of the world has died because of water-related disease.
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December 26th, 2013
01:00 AM ET
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It seems that McDonald's has finally realized how tone-deaf its internal employee resource website was. It has shut it down.

The final straw? A tip on the site to employees to avoid McDonald's fare.

A graphic on the site shows a meal with a cheeseburger, fries and drink under the caption "Unhealthy choice." Next to it is a picture of a sub, a salad and water under the caption "Healthier choice."

The latest embarrassment is among a string that's cropped up since the McResource Line website went live.
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Filed under: Fast Food • Human Rights • McDonald's • Service


Union-backed groups pay wages for protesting workers
December 5th, 2013
04:15 PM ET
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Karina McClain, a cashier at fast food chain Checkers in New York City, didn't show up for her shift on Thursday.

Instead, the 22 year-old joined about 100 other people outside of a Brooklyn Wendy's restaurant calling for an hourly wage increase to $15 an hour. She was holding a sign that read "Raise pay, live better."

"I have bills to pay and we don't get enough money," said McClain, who makes the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and works 20 hours a week. Missing out on a day's pay would be hard for McClain, who can barely pay for diapers and clothes for her five-month old daughter Kamayah.
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December 5th, 2013
09:30 AM ET
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Fast food protests aren't going away.

Organizers say fast food restaurant workers in 100 U.S. cities will walk off the job Thursday, as part of a continuing push to raise wages above $15 an hour in the industry and secure the right to unionize.

The movement began with a small walkout in New York City last year and has since gathered momentum. Strikes this past August drew fast food workers in 60 cities, organizers said.

The National Restaurant Association contends that the demonstrations are a "coordinated PR campaign engineered by national labor groups," and that "relatively few restaurant workers have participated" in past demonstrations.
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Filed under: Fast Food • Human Rights • Labor Issues


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