Food Bank Helps Bridgeport Head Start Program

Ramen noodles again? For millions on U.S. food stamps, ‘This is not the way I envisioned my life’

An example of lunch items bought with Silva's food stamps.

Theyre underfunded in that area generally, but no imports are being inspected for safety right now, DeWaal told the Christian Science Monitor. While lead in packaging hasn’t occurred recently, they still see cases of lead coming from unwashed chili peppers used as an ingredient. Previous Alexander Raths/Shutterstock Flagged food imports Unapproved drugs in seafood: A number of international aquaculture operations on are alert for using unapproved drugs in that could make seafood unsafe for consumers. Previous Wikimedia Commons Flagged food imports Mad cow disease risk in supplements: The USDA’s prohibition on imports of meat from countries with a history ofbovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease, doesn’t apply to dietary supplements , prompting the FDA to closely monitor shipments for the disease which, as it notes, is “extremely resistant to activation by normal disinfection or sterilization procedure.” Previous Wikimedia Commons Flagged food imports Cocaine in tea: The FDA’s been on alert ever since 1986, whenthe DEA cracked down on herbal tea made from “decocainized coca leaves” sent to Hawaii, Georgia, Chicago and various East Coast locations. Previous Wikimedia Commons Flagged food imports Melamine in milk: Milk products from China have been flagged since the 2008 infant formula scandal , in which thousands of babies were sickened, and several died, after consuming contaminated formula. The problem of melamine, according to the FDA, is a recurring one — inspection officials are also on the lookout for anything containing milk as an ingredient, including yogurt, frozen desserts, biscuits, cakes and cookies, taffy-like soft candy products, chocolates and beverages. Previous esbobeldijk/Shutterstock Flagged food imports Metals in fruit juice: Heavy lead and arsenic contamination has been found in fruit juice concentrates from Argentina and China. A single 8 ounce serving of grape juice found in a shipment from 2002 contained three times the amount of lead judged to be tolerable for children. Previous Wikimedia Commons Flagged food imports Bacteria in cheese: A laundry list of contaminants, from salmonella to E. coli, have been found in imported cheese from around the world. The FDA also looks out for the use of nitrates in cheese and other dairy products. Previous Wikimedia Commons Flagged food imports Pathogens in produce: Because fresh produce is likely to be consumed raw and follows complex distribution patterns, disease outbreaks from contaminated imports is likely to be widespread and difficult to contain. As such, fruits and vegetables from a number of countries are on red alert. Recent Slide Shows Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainability. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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“It was wonderful,” said Melanie Rhodes. “It’s a life saver.” On Monday Rhodes picked up groceries for her four year old son. Normally he gets two meals a day at ABCD but because of the stalemate in Washington it’s been closed. The Connecticut Food Bank stepped in donating 17,000 food items such as fresh fruit, milk, soup and other food. “On Friday we sent over enough food for a couple of days for each child enrolled in the program,” said Mary Ingarra from the Connecticut Food Bank. The past week has not been easy for the families or for the people who run the Head Start program. “If it goes any longer I’m not sure what we’re gonna do,” said Monette Ferguson of ABCD. With no end in sight to the shutdown the frustration is growing for parents who are just trying to take care of their kids. “We wish that we could point the finger at somebody out here but we can’t,” said Rhodes. “We have to do what we have to do to take care of our family.” If you would like to donate to the Connecticut Food Bank you can do so through their website.

Food Bank Helps Bridgeport Head Start Program

And thats a good thing, she says. I’m really excited we are on our way to self-sufficiency, Warrick says. I’ve taken the class offered by the Job Council about those who become dependent on food stamps, and I’ve learned ways to help us feel OK about spending cash on food. It’s all part of breaking free and becoming independent. For now, though, her familys $1,500 monthly income necessitates aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program colloquially called food stamps and precludes them from shoveling out $600 a month for child care for their 2-year-old daughter, Aleyah, a sum Warrick says can be a bit steep when trying to balance a budget. An added difficulty is her husbands atypical autism, which has made it tough to find and keep a job. The Warricks story isnt rare. Nearly 48 million Americans, or about 1 in 7 of us, collect SNAP assistance, an increase of about 1 million from June 2012 to June 2013. Shortly after that jump, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to slash $40 billion in food stamps over 10 years, a cut 10 times larger than what the Senate proposed. Meanwhile, enrollment doubled and costs ($78 billion in 2012) tripled over the last decade, Reuters says . Americans on SNAP receive, on average, $1.47 per meal. ( Access to SNAPs data and website is shuttered during the government shutdown, but because it has dedicated funding, its payments like some Social Security and Medicaid are unaffected.