Watertown Public Schools keeps students fed amid growing food insecurity

Originally published on Wicked Local.

The main federally funded options offered through states to combat long-term food insecurity at the individual level are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Pandemic-EBT, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or WIC.

Dr. Deborah Frank, a pediatrics professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and the director of the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, said research has shown that school meals improve test scores and attendance, but there is still work for some states to do on their public assistance programs.

In the past, Frank said she noticed a decline in patients whose parents lost SNAP benefits because they made slightly above the eligibility threshold—a phenomenon known as the cliff effect—based on a paystub submitted during recertification.

“The take home is availability doesn’t mean access. You’ve got to work on both,” said Frank.