DCCA chief meets with USDA on food stamp budget

Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter, second left, is joined by participants for the negotiations in San Francisco. From left, Shahdy Monemzadeh (Food and Nutrition Service), Hunter, Maribelle Balbes (FNS), Barbara Utuchian (FNS), and Nutrition Assistance Program administrator Walter Macaranas. (Contributed Photo)

Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter, second left, is joined by participants for the negotiations in San Francisco. From left, Shahdy Monemzadeh (Food and Nutrition Service), Hunter, Maribelle Balbes (FNS), Barbara Utuchian (FNS), and Nutrition Assistance Program administrator Walter Macaranas. (Contributed Photo)

Prior to Aug. 1 each year, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service and the CNMI meet to discuss policies and funding for the sub-sequent Federal Fiscal Year.

The FFY 2017 negotiation meetings were held at the Federal Building in San Francisco from July 6 to July 7, 2016. Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter described the meetings to be very good as several policy changes and budget item requests were adopted. Hunter also met with Jesus Mendoza, Regional administrator for USDA-FNS Western Regional Office, Dennis Stewart, Division director for SNAP.

DCCA administers the CNMI’s Nutrition Assistance Program.

Hunter also had the opportunity to meet with federal officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living who oversees the grants administered by the Office on Aging. The officials were David Ishida, Regional Administrator for ACL for Regions IX and X, Dennis Dudley, Aging Services Program specialists, and Fong Yee, Aging Services Program specialist.

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