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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Brazile: A nation hungry for change
November 29th, 2013
03:00 AM ET
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Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pot in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.

When the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 16,000 earlier this month, headlines throughout the country trumpeted the milestone as a sign of recovery for the economy.

Away from Wall Street, among the working poor in America's suburbs, small towns and larger metropolitan areas, the trumpets of a thriving economy do not sound. What we too often hear in the back streets and even on some main streets is the drumbeat of the desperate, or the plaintive strings of hope postponed.
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Filed under: Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • SNAP


November 27th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House.

I love Thanksgiving. I love everything about it: gathering three generations around the table, pausing for a moment with heads bowed to thank God for our abundant blessings, carrying a tradition across the centuries, watching my beloved Texas Longhorns play football. I even love clanging the pots and scraping the plates afterward. And I especially love the eating. We are traditionalists in my family, so it's turkey and stuffing, and three kinds of pie.

I am hoping this year to add one more item to the menu: a small serving of conscience. For as we gorge ourselves, Congress is contemplating drastic cuts in food aid for the least of our brethren. Food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for the Poor, or SNAP, help poor people eat - simple as that.
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Filed under: Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • SNAP


How do you stretch your food dollars?
November 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Cuts to SNAP benefits in November 2013 have left 47 million people with $36 a month less to spend on food. That cut (based on a family of four) is a 5% reduction to an already stretched budget.

The February 2014 presidential approval of the Farm Bill entails an $8 billion cut from SNAP over the next 10 years. This means 850,000 families will see an average $90 monthly drop in their food budget.

Millions of others who don't qualify for benefits, but who still struggle to feed their families, are finding the aisles of their local food banks more crowded with fellow shoppers than ever before.

We asked our readers, via our comments and Facebook, to share their strategies for making the most of their limited food funds. Here's what they had to say.
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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments • Hunger • Shopping • SNAP


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