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Pat McCrory 2Art Pope 3In a rather amazing response to the bad P.R. they’ve been receiving for their toughest-in-the-nation policies toward the poor and unemployed over the last several months, Gov. McCrory and his budget director, chain store magnate Art Pope, issued a pair of press releases today in an attempt to show what caring souls they are.

Unfortunately for both men, both statements come off as almost comically pathetic in their failure to appreciate the magnitude of the problem confronting people in need.

The Governor’s statement was probably the funniest: he announced that:

“approximately 6,700 pounds of fresh turnip greens harvested at the state prison farm at Caledonia Correctional Institution are being delivered to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.”

Gee thanks, Guv! That ought to take care of that pesky hunger problem!

Pope, meanwhile, Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center

In the latest issue of Prosperity Watch, Alexandra Sirota takes a look at food insecurity in North Carolina, and finds that far too many of our state’s residents don’t have enough food to eat. As a result, recent decisions by state government to temporarily halt critical food assistance programs due to the federal government shutdown placed thousands of families at risk of hunger–especially those living in rural North Carolina. See the latest Prosperity Watch for details.

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HungerMore bad news in this new release from the N.C. Justice Center:

“1,708,000 people in North Carolina will see a cut in their food assistance benefits this fall, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is set to expire, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed in a new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

All of the more than 47 million Americans including 22 million children who receive SNAP, known as Food and Nutrition Services in North Carolina, will see their food assistance reduced when a modest boost in benefits to SNAP recipients that policymakers included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to strengthen the economy and ease hardship expires on October 31.

For a family of three, that cut will mean a reduction of $29 a month— $319 for the remaining 11 months of the fiscal year. This is a serious loss for families whose benefits, after this cut, will average less than $1.40 per person per meal. Read More

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North Carolina’s decision to cutoff  federal extended long-term unemployment benefits for 70,000 North Carolinians earlier this month has area-food banks nervous about the ripple effect in the coming weeks.

Jill Bullard, executive director of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, says their organization provides food during the summer for some of the 116,000 children, who  are eligible for free and reduced lunches during the school year. Bullard says workers who have just learned their unemployment benefits have dried up (or been reduced under HB 4) will certainly increase the demand on their nonprofit at a time when the need is already tremendous.

Bullard appeared last weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon to discuss alleviating hunger, and the growing number of long-term unemployed North Carolinians.

To hear an excerpt from her radio interview, click below or visit the Radio Interview section of the NC Policy Watch website to hear the full interview or download a podcast.
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Here’s another one from the “You can’t make this stuff up” Department at the North Carolina General Assembly. Today, at 10:00 am in the Legislative Press Conference Room, the N.C. Retail Merchants Association will kick off a canned food drive to help feed the state’s poor and hungry citizens.

“What’s so strange about that?” you might ask.

Here’s what: 

The N.C. Retail Merchants Association is the exact same lobby group that is helping to spearhead the legislature’s mean-spirited and unprecendented attack on the state’s already inadequate unemployment insurance benefits program!

You got that? Last week, a lobbyist for the group was a featured speaker at an employer-sponsored press conference to tout the legislation and characterize the state’s workers as lazy and undeserving of benefits — even though the jobless outnumber the stock of available jobs three-to-one. Today, the same group will issue a plea for average citizens to cough up some canned food to throw at those same out-of-work families (and then stand by and bask in the glow of the positive P.R. the event will produce).

Truly amazing.