News

 May 16, 2017

ACTION ALERT: Call Senators to Support HIP Funding

Senator Anne Gobi has introduced an amendment to the FY18 House budget that would provide necessary matching funds for operation of the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). We need as many senators as possible to sign on to this amendment by 5:00 this Thursday, May 18.

Please:

  • Call or email your state senator this week to ask them to co-sponsor the budget amendment sponsored by Senator Anne Gobi to provide funding for the Healthy Incentives Program. If you’re not sure how to contact your representative, check https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator.
  • Explain that the amendment will provide slightly more than $1.7 million in program costs for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which provides matching funds to incentivize SNAP recipients’ purchases at farmers markets, farmstands, CSAs, and mobile markets.

If they have questions, here are a few key talking points:

  • The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) will provide $40-80 in monthly incentives to SNAP recipients, doubling the value of their purchases at farmers markets, farmstands, CSAs, and mobile markets.
  • One in 9 State residents receives SNAP and is eligible for the HIP incentives. If each of them were incentivized to eat 1 more serving per day, that would mean $11.7 million in health care savings every year for the Commonwealth. (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists)
  • This will also mean increased sales for local farmers, creating jobs and preserving farmland.
  • This funding will allow the State to leverage a $3.4 million grant from USDA.
  • Massachusetts has long been an innovator in solutions to improve health outcomes for low-income families. A pilot program in Hamden County a few years ago found that a 30% matching program helped increase participants consumption of healthy foods by 26%.
  • Only one-quarter of Massachusetts adults eat the federally recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and the gap is significantly higher in low-income households, in households with children, among elderly residents, and among the 454,000 SNAP families in Massachusetts. Disparities in access by race and ethnicity exacerbate the problem further in many communities. This nutritional deficit contributes to increases in obesity and its related chronic preventable diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Public interventions are needed to reverse these trends.

If they have further questions, invite them to contact Collaborative Director Winton Pitcoff: 413-634-5728, winton@mafoodsystem.org.

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May 2017 MA Food System Collaborative newsletter