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Millions of families in the U.S. struggled to get enough food to eat last year, but conditions appear to be getting better as the economy improves.

In a new report released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that about 11 percent of households — just over 14 million — had trouble putting enough food on the table last year and that in about 4 percent of households, someone went hungry because there was not enough money to buy food.

The numbers of low-income Ohioans turning to food pantries for help are climbing. And with signs of trouble for the economy on the horizon, advocates at Ohio's 12 regional foodbanks and the hundreds of food pantries and soup kitchens that they serve are worried.

Advocates say three million Americans in 40 states could lose their SNAP or food stamp benefits because of a federal rule change in how eligibility is determined at the state level.

The Trump administration's proposal to push millions of people out of the federal food stamp program would punish some of the country's neediest, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, according to mayors of 70 American cities who have sent a letter to an administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The Trump administration is moving forward with regulations that are expected to dramatically reshape the U.S. immigration system by denying green cards and visas to immigrants who use — or are expected to use — a wide range of federal, state and local government benefits, including food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid.

The final version of the "public charge" rule, which has been a top priority for immigration hard-liners in the White House, is set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

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The number of Ohio kids enrolled in benefit programs like Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has dropped. 

A Trump administration proposal would cut food stamps benefits to over 3 million people nationwide.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

About 3.1 million people would lose food stamp benefits under the Trump administration's proposal to tighten automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program.

Walmart is expanding a program that allows for online orders of groceries to be picked up and paid for with food stamps at more than 2,500 locations.

It's the latest move by a major retailer to give low-income shoppers more options for using food stamps in the modern era of online shopping. Walmart, one of the world's largest retailers, began piloting the use of food stamps for online grocery pickup service in 2017 in a few locations.

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Karen Desuyo / Flickr

A national survey finds LGBTQ Midwesterners and their families are more likely to receive public assistance than non-LGBTQ people.

Three-quarters of a million people would likely lose their food stamps later this year under a new proposal by the Trump administration. The goal is to encourage able-bodied adults to go to work and get off government aid. But opponents predict people would go hungry instead, if the rule goes into effect.

A public comment period, which ends Tuesday, has so far drawn more than 28,000 comments overwhelmingly against the proposed rule.

Margaret Shesky and her husband Larry Lafferty run the food pantry in Nelsonville, which serves residents in Athens County.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Just off the main drag in Nelsonville sits the food pantry, and volunteers are loading up boxes with staples for a noon rush.

“We have the cereal, and we have spaghetti, we have peanut butter, vegetables,” a volunteer says, looking over the boxes.

bananas in a grocery store
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SNAP recipients who were told they wouldn't receive benefits until next month will get a portion of their March allotment earlier than expected.

U.S. House Oversight And Government Reform Committee/Flickr

A new report by a coalition of social service groups says state leaders need to invest more in families, seniors and low-income residents when they approve the next two-year state budget. 

Program Will Help Suspended Drivers Regain Licenses

Jan 29, 2019
phone in car
Pixabay

Ohioans who had their driver's license suspended for certain violations may be able to have their license reinstatement fee waived or reduced under a new program going into effect this week.

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history has some of the country's poorest residents worried about how they are going to stay fed.

In Pennsylvania, no place has more trouble keeping food on the table than the city of Reading, population 88,000, about an hour outside Philadelphia. Nearly half of all households there receive food stamps, the highest rate in the state.

The human toll of that statistic can be found everywhere, including among the people lining up for a monthly food pantry operated by St. James Chapel Church of God.

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