Child Nutrition Act Must be Reauthorized Soon to Meet Obama’s Child Hunger Goal

June 24, 2010 at 3:46 am Leave a comment

 (OregonLive.com, June 13, 2010; News Tribune, June 1, 2010)

“Two key moves” by Congress last week led the Child Nutrition Act closer to reauthorization, but the Act must be reauthorized soon if we are to meet President Obama’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015, notes this commentary. In the Senate, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and five other senators sent a letter to their colleagues stating “While the current bill [the Senate Agriculture Committee’s CNR bill] represents a good start, we want to work with you to find more funds in order to increase the lunch reimbursement rate…and – at a minimum – match the President’s recommendation of $10 billion for child nutrition.” The letter listed several goals for reauthorization, including expanding access to afterschool, summer and child care food programs by lowering the area eligibility from 50 percent to 40 percent. The House Education and Labor Committee last week released its bill, which contains the 50 to 40 percent shift (editor’s note: only for rural), and increases spending by $7 to $8 billion. “We think it’s a significant step forward,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. Weill also noted that the bill includes competitive grants that would encourage schools to offer universal breakfast, which has been shown to increase breakfast participation. “Portland did a good job with in-class breakfast,” said Weill, “but it’s fallen backward in the last couple of years.” The commentary concludes by stating “[I]t should be a priority to get child [nutrition] reauthorization done, and done right.”

An editorial in the Tacoma, Wash.-based News Tribune notes that many Pierce County sites that could serve summer meals find the red tape to do so overwhelming. “Streamlining the application process for obtaining funding…is one goal for anti-hunger advocates as they work toward congressional reauthorization…of the federal Child Nutrition Act in the coming weeks. It’s a goal the state’s delegation should support.” During the school year, 43 percent (54,000) of  Pierce County’s children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. The county has 229 schools, but only 97 of them have some kind of meal program in the summer. According to the Emergency Food Network (EFN), these programs are only reaching an estimated eight percent of the children needing summer meals. “Anti-hunger organizations like EFN see a real need for a $1 billion annual increase in funding for childhood nutrition programs from the current level of $22 billion a year. That would allow higher-quality food to be bought and make it possible to serve more children on weekends and during the summer.”

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Oregon Food Bank action alert: Child Nutrition Reauthorization Call today to stop the food stamp cuts!

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