Deirdre Courtney will present Climate Change and Marginalized Populations

ccl eventFree!
6 – 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 21
ICCF Assembly Hall, 920 Cherry St SE, 49506 

As climate change makes more impact on our world, those with income challenges—most often people of color—suffer the most. Deirdre Courtney will present Climate Change and Marginalized Populations at ICCF Assembly Hall, 920 Cherry St SE, 49506 from 6 – 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 21. The free event is co-sponsored by the Citizens Climate Lobby – Grand Rapids Chapter and Our Kitchen Table, as part of its  2019 Women of Color Convenings series.

Courtney, a doctoral teaching assistant in the Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies at Western Michigan University, researches climate change adaptation and mitigation, climate change migration/displacement and cultural anthropology. While the real solution is to take steps to set our world’s climate back in the right direction, the next best plans include finding ways to minimize the harm that is already happening to our marginalized neighbors who are suffering the most.

“The margins are real and make a difference on how and who is affected by climate changes, even in Michigan,” says Jan Strait, co-lead of Grand Rapids Citizens Climate Lobby Chapter. “What do we need to increase our resilience and begin taking action to change the course for ourselves, our families, and our communities?”

OKT will open the event with a healthy cooking demo and tasting. Parking will be available around the building.

Citizens Climate Lobby supports the Bipartisan Climate Solution, HR 763, “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act”, to drive down carbon pollution and allocate the proceeds directly to the American citizens. All the indicators estimate that in 12 years such an energy policy would reduce carbon emissions by 40%, it’s good for economy to add 2.1 million jobs, saves lives and helps Americans
where it’s most needed.

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Save the Date! Walk for Good Food!

#Walk4GoodFood

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Access of West Michigan has again chosen Our Kitchen Table as a recipient of funds raised by the Walk for Good Food. OKT will use these funds to support our Southeast Area Farmers’ Market during its 2019 market season. Please consider supporting the Walk by joining team “OKT,” making a direct donation, or coming on board as one of OKT’s corporate walk sponsors.

Kent County Warming Centers

If you or someone you know needs a place to escape the cold …

Alano Club of Kent County Club: Open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily 1020 College Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Dégagé Ministries: Open Monday through Saturday 7-11:30 a.m., 2-7:30 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m.- 2 p.m., and 4-7:30 p.m.  144 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Exodus Place(men only): Open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. 322 Front Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Gods Kitchen: Open Monday through Saturday 12:30-2 p.m., and Sunday from 2:30-4 p.m.  303 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

HQ: M 6-8 p for ages 20-24, M-TH 3:30-5:30 for ages 14-19, T/TH 12:30-2:30 for ages 20-24 320 State St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Guiding Light Works: varies based on temps 255 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Heartside Ministry: Open Monday through Friday 1-4 p.m. 54 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Mel Trotter Ministries: Warming center open daily 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., shelter is open 4 pm – 7 am 225 Commerce Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Park Church: Open through Feb, Fridays, 10 a.m. -1:30 p.m. 10 E Park Pl NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Westminster Presbyterian Church: Open Monday through Tuesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 47 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Peace Lutheran Church | 1225 12 Mile Rd NW, | 5 p.m. Tuesday to 12 p.m. Thursday. For a ride, call 616-887-9417.

 

Symphony Scorecard grants DHHS clients free admission to concerts

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Do you receive assistance from DHHS? If yes, you are eligible for a Symphony Scorecard. Cardholders are entitled to four complimentary tickets to more than 20 different Symphony events.

To get your scorecard, email your name, case number (or DOB) and address to Colene Johnson, Community Resource Coordinator, Kent County DHHS at
MDHHS-Kent-Community-Resources@michigan.gov.

Farmers Market SNAP Programs Face Challenges from Gov’t Shutdown, Novo Dia Uncertainties

Posted On: January 16, 2019 By Farmers’ Markets Coalition

by Ben Feldman, FMC Executive Director | ben@farmersmarketcoalition.org

unnamed (2)Since its inception, FMC has prioritized advocating for support for SNAP EBT equipment and administrative funding to increase SNAP access at farmers markets. In 2012, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) first began offering support using $4 million in funds from the President’s annual budget for the agency. Now, seven years later, a variety of avenues have been pursued and tested, with significant gains made: the share of SNAP dollars spent at farmers markets continues to rise, even as total SNAP dollars spent decreases across the country.

However, farmers markets will not be able to reach their full potential as fresh food access points for our low-income shoppers until markets have long-term access to no-cost, reliable, wireless SNAP processing systems at farmers markets.

July of 2018 highlighted the tenuous situation of equipment access at farmers markets, when one of the major equipment providers, Novo Dia Group, announced that they would be shutting down by the end of that month. Immediately after the announcement in July, FMC set up aninformation center where markets could find updates on the situation and information on alternative equipment options, and launched a mini-grant program to help out markets in dire need.

While temporary relief was found, farmers markets once again face uncertainty with regard to SNAP on a number of fronts. Although provisions were made to extend Novo Dia’s service through February 2019, the company has not provided clarity regarding their future. In responding to FMC’s request for additional information, Novo Dia representatives responded by saying “NDG never stated that a shutdown would occur at the end of February 2019,” and that future updates would be posted on their website.

Additionally, the unprecedented, partial government shutdown has further complicated the SNAP picture for farmers markets in the following ways:

  • Prior to the shutdown, USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) was exploring options for avoiding a disruption in service by Novo Dia, should the company cease operations. Since the beginning of the shutdown, no further planning has occurred and it remains unclear what, if any, options are being pursued by FNS.
  • No new authorizations to accept SNAP are being processed by FNS. Farmers markets seeking authorization to accept SNAP will be forced to wait until the government reopens for there to be any progress on their application.
  • Implementation of the recently passed farm bill has not begun. Under normal circumstances, USDA would be moving quickly to review the final language that was signed into law and begin the implementation process. This includes language directing FNS to ensure markets are able to operate SNAP programs without needing multiple FNS numbers or terminals. Because the shutdown followed almost immediately after the passage of the farm bill, staff were unable to make any progress towards implementation of this or other provisions related to farmers markets.
  • Lastly the federal government is scrambling to ensure funding for SNAP recipients funding, resulting in the need for an early payout of billions of dollars for the month of February. The Trump administration is bankrolling $4.8 billion in benefits to SNAP redeeming outlets by January 20th. For SNAP redeeming farmers markets, this may result in an influx of SNAP dollars in the next two weeks while leaving future funding uncertain once the allocations are spent. FMC encourages markets to notify farmers and vendors accepting SNAP that there may be an increased demand for fresh foods through the program. Equally important is communicating to recipients the early funding implications, as there may be some confusions around the extra benefits received. A list of the dates each state will be releasing February SNAP funds has been compiled by USDA and can be found here.

In the meantime, FMC will continue its work to provide stability for markets offering SNAP. Throughout 2019, FMC will also continue to coordinate with markets, network leaders, elected officials and the USDA to compile and share information, assess the problem, and identify paths of action to help markets avoid a disruption in SNAP services.

Additionally, FMC will step up efforts to support the inclusion of free wireless EBT equipment for markets in state SNAP contracts through collaboration with state partners and policy leaders. We believe that such an approach is needed in order to ensure a long term solution that protects markets from the uncertainty they face today.

Government shutdown to kick SNAP recipients in their empty stomachs

Our Kitchen Table received a copy of this press release from Michigan Department of Social Services this morning. While the president had fun feeding football players fast food in Washington DC, those relying on food assistance to feed their families are expected to simply fast.

The State of Michigan is trying to help SNAP recipients by providing February benefits early.

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