$300M in food aid set; State to receive federal funds.


Byline: Craig S. Semon

WORCESTER - In a case of "bringing home the bacon" to the commonwealth, Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced that Massachusetts will receive more than $300 million in federal recovery funds for food and nutrition services for low-income and elderly residents.

The governor announced this yesterday at Marble Street Apartments, alongside U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., Worcester's own Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, a Who's Who of Worcester political insiders and a roomful of enthusiastic seniors.

"We are facing a global economic crisis. Every single individual, every business, every family in the commonwealth is facing unprecedented challenges and a level of uncertainty and anxiety that we haven't seen in a very, very long time," Mr. Patrick said. "Times like these have a way of reminding us how interconnected we all are; how hardships in one sector of our economy affects others ... how one neighbor's struggle becomes a whole neighborhood's. And we rise or fall together."

Formerly known as food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programwill receive more than $300 million. SNAP serves nearly 600,000

low-income individuals and families in Massachusetts by helping to pay for groceries. On average, a house will receive about an 18 percent increase in benefits, according to Mr. Patrick.

Massachusetts also will receive more than $3 million in each of fiscal years 2009 and 2010 for administrative funding for the SNAP program. Mr. Patrick said SNAP also provides a significant boost to local business, with every $5 spent in new SNAP benefits generating $9.20 in economic activity in the state.

The second-largest program operated by the commonwealth's Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Elderly Nutrition Program, will receive $2.1 million - $1.4 million allocated for nutrition programs at senior centers, and places such as Marble Street Apartments, and $700,000 allocated for home-delivered nutrition programs. This federal recovery funding will help provide 300,000 meals for seniors in need.

Describing the partnership between state and federal government as one that allows us to see a clearer path to tomorrow, Mr. Patrick called the $2.1 million in federal recovery funds an important safety net that will ensure that as many as 1.2 million Massachusetts seniors will not have to make the choice between buying food or other necessities.

"It is times like these the mission of state government is absolutely clear: Do whatever we...

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