October 29, 2019
Rule Changes Endanger SNAP Benefits for Kids & Families; Comments Needed 
Reduced Access to Free School Meals Will Affect Twice as Many Children as Government's Original Projection

Flouting steadfast opposition from public health leaders, the Trump administration continues to pursue restrictive changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that, if enacted, will negatively impact the health and wellness of hundreds of thousands of food-insecure children in the United States.    

SNAP is a hunger and nutrition safety net for 42 million Americans, including 13 million children, living in food-insecure households. The program ensures children have access to basic nutrition, such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, and an opportunity to lead a healthy life.

In July, 2019, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) proposed a rule change that would refine Categorical Eligibility for SNAP under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Analysis originally provided by the FNS showed that, among other restrictions, these changes could affect free school meal access for more than 500,000 children. The mandatory comment period was widely circulated and highly trafficked prior to its expiration. However, this month, the FNS provided revised data showing the number of children who would potentially experience reduction in school meal eligibility was a much-higher 982,000. 

"If this rule is enacted, children will be hungry at home and school. Since childhood hunger is linked to academic struggles, difficulties focusing and concentrating, mental health disorders, and increased behavioral referrals, many schools would struggle to meet the educational, health, and mental health needs of the students who lose SNAP benefits and as a result, access to free school meals," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). 

On the heels of the new data, the FNS has re-opened the comment period. Even if you or your organization commented on the rule change previously, updated comments in response to the new data are permitted and encouraged. Visit the FRAC action page to read additional background data and instructions for commenting. The comment period will close on Friday, November 1. 
An additional rule change affecting SNAP, the third of 2019, was announced on Thursday, October 9th. The SNAP Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Allowances  would change the way recipients' income, as well as housing and utility expenses, are used to calculate benefits. As a result, nearly $4.5B would be removed from SNAP funding, 8,000 households would lose SNAP benefits entirely, and 19 percent of recipients would see a decrease in monthly benefits. "This move exacerbate the struggles many low-income people have paying for costs of both food and utilities, and have harmful impacts on health and well-being as well as on the economy," stated FRAC. The comment period for the rule change will be open through December 1. 

5-4-3-2-1 Go! Resources
fiveSMART Resources
Webinar:  Exploring the Benefits of and Concrete Strategies for Supporting Student Health, Fitness and Academic Achievement
Presented by Illinois Public Health Institute

District Superintendents and school Principals are in a position to prioritize student wellness and foster school environments that support health. Nutrition, physical activity and fitness are associated with improved academic, health and behavioral outcomes among students, but many Illinois districts face challenges in implementing high-quality school health programming. This webinar features case studies of districts and schools across Illinois that are addressing these challenges - from small practical changes that maximize movement opportunities to innovative budgeting/staffing strategies to increase physical education time or create cultures of wellness. Participants will leave with practical ideas for supporting student health and strengthening school health programming back in your districts!

Intended audience: District Superintendents, school Principals/Assistant Principals, School Board members, Physical Education (P.E.) department chairs, administrative champions of health and wellness, and P.E./health teachers.
- Jane Bagus, Assistant Superintendent, Berwyn South School District 100
- Chad Dougherty, Prinicpal, Hononegah Community High School District 207
- Justin Horne, Principal, Hinsdale Community Consolidated School District 181
- Lisa Small, Associate Superintendent for Instruction, Township High School District 211
- Jean Sophie, Superintendent of Schools, Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65  

Date: Monday, November 4th, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Updates on social, structural and other root causes of obesity
CLOCC continues to expand our focus "upstream" to identify the fundamental root causes of obesity, and to broaden the scope of our obesity prevention strategies. This work coincides with heightened local and national attention to health equity and social determinants of health, such as immigration, education, poverty and racism, all of which have an impact on people's ability to eat healthy and be active where they live, work, learn, and play. If you have comments or questions about this focus, we invite you to reach out to info@clocc.net
  • America Walks has seen firsthand that the passion, innovation and hard work of advocates and local organizations to advance safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move are what create the foundation for walkable communities across the US. This grant program will work to provide support to the growing network of advocates, organizations, and agencies using innovative, engaging, and inclusive programs and projects to create change at the community level.

    Funded projects should:
    • Increase physical activity and active transportation in a specific community
    • Work to engage people and organizations new to the efforts of walking and walkability
    • Demonstrate a culture of inclusive health
    • Create and support healthy, active, and engaged communities
  • The Lead in Water Resource Program helps home-based child care providers in the Chicago metropolitan area with lead in water testing costs and short-term mitigation strategies.  Applications to the program must be submitted by November 30th. To apply, please complete this online application form and click submit at the bottom of the page.  If you have any questions please contact Elevate Energy at 312.300.7074.
  • The Community Innovation Grants Program has been designed to allow the United Fresh Start Foundation to collaborate with like-minded stakeholders to increase children's access, selection, and consumption of fresh produce while they are outside of school.The 2020 program is focused on supporting visionary initiatives and research that not only increases children and families' access to fresh produce, but also broadens selection and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whether at home, on weekends, during the summer, while out to eat, or any other time outside the traditional school day. Learn more, or apply by December 1, 2019.
  • Each year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) supports communities across our state through its grants and sponsorships. Community Investments at BCBSIL are divided into two areas: grants and sponsorship. In Illinois, grants are awarded to direct service health and human service organizations with 501(c)(3) status. Funding is distributed through two separate funding streams: Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Grants and Community Partners Grants. Grants are for 1 year only. Organizations may apply through either funding stream (but not both). Funding is competitive, so organizations should assess alignment with each streams' funding priorities. The LOI window will open on January 21. 
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the Office on Women's Health (OWH) jointly announce the YES Initiative in collaboration with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and in consultation with the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) and the Office of the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition (PCSFN). The YES Initiative seeks to identify characteristics of effective collaborations that improve physical activity and nutrition via increased sports participation. YES Initiative applicants should propose to address unhealthy physical activity and nutrition behaviors among racial/ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged youth (including, specifically girls), and provide opportunities to learn skills and gain experiences that contribute to more positive lifestyles and enhance their capacity to make healthier life choices.  Applicants should have capacity to develop and implement sports fitness programs based on successful evidenced-based strategies for youth engagement.  The application due date is May 31, 2019.
T he Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is a nationally recognized leader for community-based obesity prevention. We support, coordinate, and unite partners to promote healthy and active lifestyles for children and families. Our multi-sector approach emerged in Chicago and can be adapted for use anywhere.