food assistance


Column: SNAP update will help fight hunger, especially in northern Michigan

BY: - August 27, 2021

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) keeps 270,000 Michiganders, more than 40%of them children, out of poverty every year and helps ensure that families have enough to eat.  SNAP’s positive impact has been limited, however, by an outdated basis for calculating benefits. President Joe Biden’s administration recently announced steps to modernize the program and increase […]

Study: SNAP benefits don’t come close to covering the cost of a meal in Leelanau County

BY: - July 28, 2021

Leelanau County in northern Michigan has the largest gap nationwide between maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and the average cost of a meal, according to a recent study.  Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based social and economic policy research nonprofit, found that in 2020, the average meal in Leelanau County, which is estimated to […]

More than 1.25M Michiganders approved to receive emergency food assistance in July

BY: - July 23, 2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Thursday that Michigan families who are eligible for food assistance benefits will receive an additional monthly payment in July. More than 1.25 million people in close to 700,000 Michigan households will benefit under approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food […]


Column: DHHS must continue making it easier for people to get help when they need it

BY: and - April 29, 2021

Two years ago, Michigan’s system for providing emergency aid to families was burdensome and broken.  The state denied residents help keeping the heat on if they had more than $50 in the bank. To get food assistance, even homeless people often had to produce bank statements. In many counties, a third of applicants faced delays […]

More college students are eligible for food stamps during the pandemic — but many don’t know that

BY: - April 19, 2021

When the pandemic first hit last year, many college students were left unemployed when businesses closed and colleges went virtual, creating an even greater population of young adults in Michigan who struggle with food insecurity. But this problem isn’t new in Michigan.  In 2015, almost 1.5 million people in Michigan were food insecure, or struggle […]

Vilsack keys in on food insecurity and nutrition in USDA budget request

BY: - April 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday laid out USDA’s goals to expand food insecurity and nutrition programs in the president’s budget request, as well as the agency’s focus on programs to address longtime racial discrimination. “Normally I would talk to you all about numbers in the budget,” Vilsack, the former governor of […]

810K children attending school virtually will start receiving food assistance

BY: - March 17, 2021

Around 810,000 Michigan children and their families have now begun to receive automatic food assistance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the state announced this week. The $741.6 million total in assistance benefits is aimed toward Michigan families that normally rely on free or reduced-price lunches at school to help feed […]

‘It will help end the survival mode’: Michiganders say federal COVID relief plan comes at a critical time

BY: - March 15, 2021

Desiree Byrd has a vision for her stimulus check coming from the new COVID-19 relief plan. The 35-year-old Detroit is a mother of four and an essential worker, so she has a lot on her plate. And she plans to invest half of her $1,400 check into creating and distributing care packages for seniors. “It’s […]


Column: Here’s what lawmakers have done — and must keep doing — to help people amid the pandemic

BY: - March 12, 2021

On March 13, 2020, almost one year ago today, I wrote a column for the Michigan Advance outlining some public policy solutions to reduce COVID-19’s impact on workers and families with lower incomes. A year later, I thought I’d take a look at how well policymakers have responded to the pandemic-related needs of Michigan families. […]

Michigan children to receive $741M in food assistance

BY: - February 9, 2021

The families of 810,000 Michigan children whose access to affordable school meals has been affected by COVID-19 will soon be receiving monthly payments, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Friday. The extra support — totaling $741.6 million in federal dollars — comes after Michigan gained authorization for […]

Agricultural workers would get PPE, hazard pay under Dem plan

BY: - July 28, 2020

Four state House Democrats on Monday rolled out a bill package that aims to allocate hazard pay, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other protections to at-risk agricultural workers in Michigan. Their five bills, dubbed the Food Security Protection Plan, extend protections to seasonal and migrant farm workers who continue to plant, cultivate, harvest and package […]


Column: How are kids doing in Michigan? Let’s look at the numbers.

BY: - July 1, 2020

For some of us, tracking the COVID-19 pandemic has become a part of daily life. In a small way, peering over the trackers, maps, graphs and charts can help us feel in control — like we know what’s going on around us and around the world.  We all cope in different ways. For some, that […]