Monday, October 9, 2017

Need to enroll in the ACA?

At the Hub, we know that access to affordable healthcare is vital to those experiencing food insecurity.

Because of recent budget cuts, enrollment for the Affordable Care Act has become more difficult this year due to the lack of regional health directors' involvement. Spreading the word for ACA enrollment has been a struggle for a lot of government officials, so we at the Hub wanted to help in any way that we can in raising awareness for the specific dates you can enroll.

This year, enrollment is open from November 1st to December 15th. According to Get America Covered,  8 out of 10 qualify for financial help, with premiums starting from $50 to $100, and there could be even more savings for individuals who can't afford these options.

Unfortunately, heathcare.gov will be taken down from midnight to noon every Sunday, so if you're wanting to enroll, this site can't be used at those times.

This link can direct you to a list of Certified Navigators in Monroe County, who can help you choose a health care plan: https://bloomington.in.gov/health/insurance. 
Or you could contact Nancy Woolery at 812-349-3851 or wooleryn@bloomington.in.gov.

Another local resource you can use is Covering Kids and Families of South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP). You can contact Katie Rodriguez for help with enrollment at 812-339-3447, or at katherine@insccap.org.


For a full list of local resources, go to https://bloomington.in.gov/health/insurance. 


It's important that everyone has access to health care, and you can help people become aware of the current policies by sharing this information with those who may not know about them. Help us spread the word about enrolling for the ACA this year!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Local School Board Responds to Demands to End Lunch Shaming

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard joined the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, the Commission on the Status of Black Males, and many other organizations, commissions and individuals in calling on the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) to end their lunch shaming practices, and change their policy on lunch debt collection. You can read more about our efforts on this issue here, and here.

Following the June School Board meeting, when many spoke out against the policy of giving students with unpaid lunch debt an alternative meal (thus stigmatizing them and making them accountable for debt that their parents owe), MCCSC Superintendent Judith DeMuth called a meeting with those who had made public comments at the meeting. At that meeting, Hattie Johnson, MCCSC's Director of Nutrition Services announced the details of DeMuth's new lunch debt policy, which did away with the alternative meal, and took the students completely out of the school lunch debt collection process.


At the July School Board Meeting on July 25, the new policy was officially approved by the school board, and passed unanimously.

All of us at The Hub are pleased with the outcome, and proud to have been involved in this effective campaign about such an important issue.







What's next?
While we are thrilled to see this destructive policy removed from our local school system, these sorts of lunch shaming policies persist across the nation. Support the bipartisan federal
legislation, the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017 by signing Feeding America's petition to urge congress to support this legislation. You can also write to your representatives at the statehouse, and at the national level, to let them know your views on these policies, and urge them to take action to put an end to them.
A huge thank you to all of those who participated in the Hub's Advocacy Working Group, and to everyone in the community who stepped up and spoke out on this issue. Our voices can make a difference.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cute Food!


Summer is the season for patty pan, zucchini, yellow crook neck and other tasty summer squash. Gardeners often have an abundance of these beauties to share with friends and neighbors, and our pantry produce section is bursting with a variety of summer squash. Kids Cook participants had the chance to try a fun way of preparing patty pan squash this week. Patty pan has a similar texture and flavor to zucchini, but its squat and rounded shape makes it ideal for stuffing.

We prepared a savory rice filling and parboiled the squash beforehand, then the kids hollowed out the squash with a spoon. After filling with the rice mixture, and placing the "caps" on top, they go in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until piping hot. The kids enjoyed the rice in its own edible bowl, and you can too! Check out the recipe the recipe and try it tonight!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Make your own sandwich bread!

Looking for a fast, easy meal to put together?  Versatile and classic, sandwiches are a quick and cost-effective way to put together a meal during the week. 
Baking your own bread at home for sandwiches has a lot of benefits! Commercially prepared breads often have higher levels of sodium compared to home-baked breads and have lower levels of vitamins and minerals due to a production process that strips the bread of some of its nutrients. They also include various preservatives and artificial ingredients. When baking your own bread, you can avoid preservatives, high sodium, cross-contamination, and insure you get all of the nutrients. Baking your own bread is also super cost-effective when compared to buying from the store!



Kayte Young, Nutrition Coordinator
When choosing a sandwich bread, whole wheat is a nutritious and delicious selection. Most individuals need between 6-8 oz of whole grain a day (3-5 oz for children 8 years and younger). Whole wheat is an example of a recommended whole grain as opposed to refined grains, such as refined breads and white rice. 
Whole wheat also has more fiber than most breads, which will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time in between meals!

You can try the recipe we used in our sandwich bread workshop. You might like it so much you'll want to work it into your weekly routine. 

Finished products from The Hub's winter breadbaking workshop
           




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lunch Shaming Call to Action: School Board Meeting Follow Up

As many of you have been following, last night was the School Board meeting addressing the school lunch debt or “lunch shaming” policy.  An impressive number of parents, students, organizations, and city commissions attended and made statements. We were proud to have representatives from Hub staff, CEO Amanda Nickey and Nutrition Coordinator Kayte Young and from the Hub Advocacy Working Group, Thomas Vanderplough and Celestina Garcia.  In many ways, Celestina sent the most powerful rallying cry for the policy to be changed, you can hear her statement by clicking the link below.


There was so much news coverage of last’s night’s School Board Meeting, we decided to compile it for you here:












Kayte Young will be speaking about the issue on this Friday June 30th’s WFIU Noon Edition.  


Next Steps for concerned citizens:
  • Dr. DeMuth will be reworking the policy to present at the July board meeting.  Contact Dr. DeMuth here or find information for district leadership here and share your ideas for a new policy. Read more here: Superintendent welcomes input on MCCSC meal debt policy
  • Share your concerns with the public by writing a letter to the editor.
  • Attend the next School Board meeting to hear about the new policy being proposed.  Details: Tuesday, July 25th at 6pm at the MCCSC Administration Building at 315 E. North Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401


As mentioned in the meeting, there is bipartisan federal legislation, the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017, addressing the issue of lunch shaming. Feeding America has a petition you can sign to urge congress to support this legislation.

The Hub is so proud to working with those in our community who believe that all should have access to food in a manner that upholds the dignity of all involved.  If you would like to join the Hub’s Advocacy Working Group, contact Stephanie Solomon.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lunch Shaming Call to Action


We believe a follow-up is in order from our Lunch Shaming Call to Action meeting on Wednesday.

As some of you know the meeting was attended by Superintendent Dr. DeMuth and Board President Martha Street. Their presence was unexpected but provided some insight into the rationale for the policy. More on the meeting can be found in this coverage from WFIU.

In the course of the meeting it became clear that the act of shaming the child is the most contentious part of this policy. District officials communicated that the policy was effective and they didn’t see the acts as shaming.

Our group concluded that we would like to request the board do the following:
  • Stop the act of taking away lunches and replacing them with cold lunches when children have debt.
  • Create policy that doesn’t stigmatize children.
  • Create a district policy detailing the steps taken to ensure families are connected with the free and reduced lunch applications throughout the year.
  • Create a policy that states the collection of debt is only directed at parents or guardians
  • Establish a community fund/money in the community fund to be used to ensure that all children have the lunch they choose (the current fund does not seem to prevent lunch from being taken from children. It appears it pays back past debt).

Many of these policy suggestions come from Food Research Action Center. These recommendations were shared with the full board and Dr. Demuth in previous communications.

Next Steps for concerned citizens:
  • Attend the School Board meeting Tuesday, June 27th at 6pm at the MCCSC Administration Building at 315 E. North Drive, Bloomington, IN 47401
    • Provide public comment. To make a public comment arrive a few minutes early and complete a comment card.  Your name will be called when it is your turn to speak.
  • You can also weigh in on the issue by contacting district leadership here.  
  • Share your concerns with the public by writing a letter to the editor.

There is bipartisan federal legislation, the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017, addressing the issue of lunch shaming. The School Board and Dr. DeMuth seemed unaware of this legislation. Feeding America has a petition you can sign to urge congress to support this legislation.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Our Thoughts on Local 'Lunch Shaming'

Post submitted by Amanda Nickey, MHC President and CEO

As the director of one of the largest direct emergency food service providers in the region, I am deeply concerned by the MCCSC policy regarding unpaid school food bills and believe it does not reflect the caring community I know Bloomington to be.

Dr. DeMuth believes the policy works well because students aren’t denied food, and what she calls the “swapping out of the meals” – when the child is forced to hand over the meal they’ve selected and have it thrown it away, in return for a cheese or peanut butter sandwich, fruit, and milk- is handled delicately and is hardly noticeable by others, besides the recipient child.

The above is most disturbing to me because it seems to imply that the only concern is whether others notice the child receiving the alternate meal, not what it must feel like to be the child receiving the alternate meal. This leads me to believe that Dr. DeMuth and the board are ok with the child knowing he or she is being punished for the unpaid bill.

In my correspondence with Dr. DeMuth and the School Board I offered information about the extent to which hunger impacts our community, sharing that 1 in 5, or close to 5,000 kids in our community face hunger and that close to a third of families experiencing food insecurity aren’t eligible for SNAP and other assistance programs.

Punishing children for decisions outside of their control creates even more stress for families on the edge. Many families in our community are already making difficult financial decisions between paying bills, the rent, or buying food. And while it is not a social issue the schools have an obligation or the resources to solve, it is one they can choose to not make worse.

To force a child to throw away a hot lunch and take a cold one, regardless of the nutritional value or who sees it, is cruel. It communicates to the child that they are undeserving of being treated with dignity and respect.

It is clear that the collection of the debt is a very important issue for Dr. DeMuth and the board. The statement by Dr. DeMuth that the policy works well for the district seems to imply that making children give back and throw away the food they’ve already selected in exchange for a different meal, is effective in getting parents to pay the debt. 

Regardless of whether this tactic achieves the goal, I have to question the collective ability of the School Board and Dr. DeMuth to lead a school district reflective of our community values if their best method is to actively harm children to make parents pay the bill. Making a child take an alternate lunch, throwing away food they have already selected, and addressing debt collection through the child in the first place, are cruel and abusive tactics and have no place in our schools. I find it unbelievable that given what we know about child development, bullying behaviors, the connection between poverty, shame, and food insecurity, that our school board would choose to continue this practice and make it an official policy of the district.


Simply removing the child from the equation is the best and most reasonable solution. I have shared a resource guide with Dr. DeMuth and the School Board from the Food Research and Action Center on crafting a policy that doesn’t harm children and ensures that families get connected with valuable programs like reduced cost and free lunch. I urge them to review the guide and create a policy better reflective of our community values.