HEADLINES

Funding for Nutrition Benefits Programs Informed by Census Statistics

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.

 “I believe in the census. I believe that numbers matter.”

— Betti Wiggins, officer of nutrition services for the Houston Independent School District

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

“It’s important that a child is adequately nourished before attempting any activity,” said Betti Wiggins, officer of nutrition services for the Houston Independent School District, the nation’s seventh largest school district.

Every day, the district serves 280,000 meals to students, she said. 

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, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau

This story is part of an occasional series on the important community benefits that come from responding to the 2020 Census.

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