Fact Sheet: President Clinton Takes Action to Improve Nutrition for America's Seniors and Families (11/22/00)
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|                          SENIORS AND FAMILIES                           |
|                            November 22, 2000                            |
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Today, President Clinton will announce new initiatives to improve nutrition
and food security among senior citizens and low-income working families,
and strengthen community-based food delivery systems. The President will
make these announcements while visiting the Capital Area Food Bank in
Washington, D.C. and participating in food distribution efforts for
Thanksgiving Day with senior citizen and student volunteers.   Helping
parents feed their families and seniors get healthy food means
strengthening the nutrition safety net and supporting community efforts to
address hunger.  To address these problems, the President will announce a
new program to enable senior citizens to purchase fresh produce at farmers
markets, new grants to support community efforts to address nutritional
assistance, and an expanded federal purchase of produce to get food from
the fields into the emergency food system.  These actions will build on the
Administration?s record of promoting food security.  Finally, the President
will call on Congress to work with him in restoring benefits to certain
legal immigrants as part of this year?s budget.

In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new
report indicating that close to nine out of ten American households, nearly
240 million Americans, had enough food for an active and healthy life in
1999.  The number of households that did not get enough food and the number
of households where one member was hungry have both declined significantly
between 1995 and 1999 ? 12 and 24 percent respectively. However, despite
the lowest poverty rate in 20 years, the success of welfare-to-work
efforts, and new public/private anti-hunger initiatives, too many Americans
still face hunger and food insecurity.  In 1999, almost 8 million people
lived in households that suffered directly from hunger the previous year.
To help more Americans get the healthy food they need, the President will
take the following steps in partnership with state, local and tribal
organizations, private businesses, and faith-based and other nonprofit

million grant program to help low-income senior citizens purchase more
fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, helping more senior
citizens improve their diets and helping family farmers increase their
income.  USDA, through its Commodity Credit Corporation, will provide funds
to build on existing state and tribal farmers market voucher programs for
senior citizens.  Such an expansion will provide a modest benefit to as
many as 500,000 low-income senior citizens for purchases at farmers
markets.  Seven states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont) and three tribes (Chickasaw
Nation and Osage Tribe, Oklahoma; Choctaw Band, Mississippi) now have
senior farmers market coupons.  These grants will support and extend the
existing initiatives, as well as allow other states and tribes to develop
such a program.  Many states now operate a similar program for low-income
families with young children, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

The President will announce $2.4 million for 16 Community Food Project
Grants for nonprofit groups in 13 (California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas,
Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota,
Texas, Vermont, and Washington) to meet the needs of low-income people by
increasing their access to fresher, more nutritious food; increasing the
self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; and
promoting comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition
issues.  USDA will also release a new report outlining the accomplishments
of the USDA Community Food Security Initiative. This report details how the
Administration has worked in all fifty states to help faith-based
organizations and nonprofit groups reduce hunger, improve nutrition,
strengthen local food systems, and help families move from poverty to
self-sufficiency. The report shows that, following the first National
Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning keynoted by Vice-President Gore in
1997, USDA employees across the nation helped glean or recover over 13
million pounds of nutritious food which was distributed to the hungry by
faith-based organizations and other nonprofit groups at virtually no
additional cost to the Federal government.  The President will challenge
federal employees in the next Administration to sustain these impressive

Expanding purchase of fruits and vegetables for distribution in communities
through schools, food banks, and meal programs.
The Administration will use its new authority to dramatically increase the
amount of food supplied to food banks and other community-based feeding
programs.  Legislation reforming the crop insurance program signed by the
President on June 20, 2000 authorized $200 million in commodity purchases
which will go to food banks, school meals, food pantries, senior feeding
programs, soup kitchens, and other government supported feeding programs.
These purchases are in addition to the $100 million per year in mandatory
commodity purchases through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
and the USDA discretionary buys, which were over $100 million this year.

Supporting Bipartisan Efforts to Address Domestic Hunger.  While good
nutrition is one important aspect of strengthening America?s families, we
must also continue our prosperity by giving working families support to
succeed.  The President will call on Congress to join him in enacting his
budget proposal to restore food stamp benefits to legal immigrants, and
other supports for working families like increasing the minimum wage,
improving child support and promoting responsible fatherhood, and making
investments in child care.

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