food security

The cereal aisle in an Anchorage supermarket in 2022. Alaska public assistance officials have been working through a backlog in the state’s food stamp applications. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

As Alaska food stamp backlog dwindles, Public Assistance balances federal requirements, local need

A state division head says the feds are working with Alaska as the state works to comply with rules

 

Chris Schapp, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, discusses record demand during the past year and steps the organization is trying to do to help those in need during a presentation Monday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Food assistance advocates seeking substantial fixes as record demand, food stamp problems persist

State, facing lawsuit and funding pressures on SNAP backlog, being asked for other forms of help.

 

A sign noting the acceptance of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that are used by state welfare departments to issue benefits is displayed at a grocery store on Dec. 4, 2019, in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Alaska must face food stamp litigation after a year of stays, court says

A sign noting the acceptance of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that are used by state welfare departments to issue benefits is displayed at a… Continue reading

 

Bulk food purchased with the $1.68 million Gov. Mike Dunleavy put towards supporting food banks is staged for delivery in Food Bank of Alaska’s Anchorage warehouse on April 21, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska’s federal food stamp funding at risk, USDA letter warns

The state may lose funding if it continues to break federal rules

Bulk food purchased with the $1.68 million Gov. Mike Dunleavy put towards supporting food banks is staged for delivery in Food Bank of Alaska’s Anchorage warehouse on April 21, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Fruit is displayed at an Anchorage grocery store. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

The number of Alaskans who use food aid has dropped as state works to reduce backlog

The state government has again made headway in reducing the number of Alaskans waiting for food aid. But national data show the number of Alaskans… Continue reading

Fruit is displayed at an Anchorage grocery store. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
A long line of residents pick up groceries at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank on Aug. 20, 2022. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire file photo)

Dunleavy administration changes reason for being among 15 states rejecting federal food funds for kids

Initially cited administrative requirements and costs, now points to state’s food stamp backlog.

A long line of residents pick up groceries at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank on Aug. 20, 2022. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Sylvia Geraghty helps a customer during the weekly food pantry at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Tuesday, Dec. 6. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Online SNAP benefit forms go live as state hopes to catch up on 8,000-applicant backlog by March

State: 260 online forms in first 10 days take average of 20 minutes, compared to an hour for paper.

Sylvia Geraghty helps a customer during the weekly food pantry at Resurrection Lutheran Church on Tuesday, Dec. 6. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
A sign asks visitors to exercise restraint at a food pantry in Eagle River on April 21, 2023. (Mark Thiessen / Associated Press file photo)

Alaska opts out of $40 per-child summer EBT program

Administrative requirements “greatly exceeds the benefit that would be issued to children,” state says

A sign asks visitors to exercise restraint at a food pantry in Eagle River on April 21, 2023. (Mark Thiessen / Associated Press file photo)
A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Division of Public Assistance makes progress on food stamp backlog

Backlog that was 12,000 down to 10,074 after eight days, according to agency’s director.

A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg gave an update on the backlog of food aid applications in the Division of Public Assistance at a news conference for Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed FY 2025 budget in on Thursday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Dunleavy proposes $14 million in food stamp crisis fixes

Commissioner says state can clear the backlog in 90 days, if there are no ‘further interruptions’

Alaska Department of Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg gave an update on the backlog of food aid applications in the Division of Public Assistance at a news conference for Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed FY 2025 budget in on Thursday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Michael Carter selects chips from a large box while Kalie Purkey wheels their 1-year-old daughter, Oaklynn Carter, along the row of tables at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank’s weekly food pantry on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

‘New normal’ is long waits for SNAP benefits and long lines at food pantries

Juneau residents cite variety of reasons for being part of backlog of more than 12,000 applicants.

Michael Carter selects chips from a large box while Kalie Purkey wheels their 1-year-old daughter, Oaklynn Carter, along the row of tables at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank’s weekly food pantry on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A bus parks outside the entrance of Foodland IGA during the Southeast Alaska Food Bank’s annual Caring is Sharing Food Drive on Nov. 18. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

SNAP benefits backlog surges past 12,000 applicants again due to technical, staffing woes

State reportedly cleared year-long 14,000-person backlog, only to have new crisis erupt.

A bus parks outside the entrance of Foodland IGA during the Southeast Alaska Food Bank’s annual Caring is Sharing Food Drive on Nov. 18. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Fruit is displayed at an Anchorage grocery store. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

A group of attorneys and volunteers helped nearly 2,000 Alaskans get food stamps during backlog

About a year ago, Jamilyn Fenn noticed she was helping a lot of elders in the Seward area repeatedly fill out applications for food stamp… Continue reading

Fruit is displayed at an Anchorage grocery store. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

New data shows measurable progress on Alaska’s food stamp backlog

The division of state government that handles food stamps has made progress in eliminating the backlog of thousands of Alaskans waiting for aid, but it… Continue reading

A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire 
Southeast Alaska Food Bank director Chris Schapp separates cans of salmon on Monday donated by SeaShare based out of Washington state. Thanks to a recent announcement from the Alaska State Department of Health, Schapp’s food bank will be one of four food banks to receive much needed financial assistance.

State announces raft of actions to address food stamp backlog

Funds for local food banks, automatic renewals are among the measures.

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire 
Southeast Alaska Food Bank director Chris Schapp separates cans of salmon on Monday donated by SeaShare based out of Washington state. Thanks to a recent announcement from the Alaska State Department of Health, Schapp’s food bank will be one of four food banks to receive much needed financial assistance.
A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images via Alaska Beacon)

Lawsuit says Alaska Department of Health exposed thousands to hunger risk by not giving food aid

Complaint filed Friday alleges some families have waited four months for nutrition assistance.

A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images via Alaska Beacon)
Applications and notifications about changes to benefits line a table at the entrance of the Alaska Division of Public Assistance office in Juneau. The division’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is months behind processing applications to due to workforce shortages and lingering problems of a cyberattack. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Food stamps backlog expected to continue for months

8,000 Alaska households go months without SNAP benefits; cyberattack, lack of workers blamed

Applications and notifications about changes to benefits line a table at the entrance of the Alaska Division of Public Assistance office in Juneau. The division’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is months behind processing applications to due to workforce shortages and lingering problems of a cyberattack. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows Helping Hands Food Bank as it faces potential closure due to a decline in financial assistance and donations. (Courtesy Photo / Helping Hands Food Bank)

They’re banking on community support

Local food banks say donations needed now more than ever.

This photo shows Helping Hands Food Bank as it faces potential closure due to a decline in financial assistance and donations. (Courtesy Photo / Helping Hands Food Bank)
Phyllis Marder poses with her cat, Nellie, with food she recently obtained from a local food bank in the dining room of her home in Evanston, Ill., on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. At first, Marder, 66, didn’t tell anyone about going to food pantries. Then she had a change of heart. “Keeping a secret makes things get worse,” she says ’”… and makes me feel worse about myself, and so I decided that it was more important to talk about it.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Pandemic pushes newly hungry Americans to crowded food lines

Millions of Americans are worried about empty refrigerators and barren cupboards.

Phyllis Marder poses with her cat, Nellie, with food she recently obtained from a local food bank in the dining room of her home in Evanston, Ill., on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. At first, Marder, 66, didn’t tell anyone about going to food pantries. Then she had a change of heart. “Keeping a secret makes things get worse,” she says ’”… and makes me feel worse about myself, and so I decided that it was more important to talk about it.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)

Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)