Thursday, October 09, 2008

Act Now to End Child Hunger in the United States

Recent funding cuts and economic instability mean that more New York City children are living with the continual threat of hunger and often eating smaller meals or less healthy food.

From 2003 to 2007, the number of New York City households with children that had trouble affording enough food grew by 41%, according to a recent study published by the Food Bank for New York City. The study found that, in 2007, 45% of all City families with children were not always able to afford enough food.

Government nutrition programs can combat child hunger, but many of these programs receive insufficient funding and are further struggling to provide food for families after funding cuts at the city, state and national level.

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, which will be considered by the next Administration and Congress, gives the nation the opportunity to end child hunger once and for all. The legislation includes future funding for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, the Summer Food Services Program (SFSP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Please take the following two actions to support the changes necessary to expand and modernize the federal child nutrition safety net.

1. Take immediate action! October 15th (Wednesday) is the deadline to send USDA comments on reauthorization. It is critical that you and/or your organization respond. Comments may be sent by mail, fax or electronically – please see the following link:

2. Join the movement! Interfaith Voices Against Hunger (IVAH)/Feed the Solution is currently collecting signatures for a petition to the next President of the United States and NY State Senators. Please review the petition at the following link: We believe that the bill should:

  1. Set a goal of cutting food insecurity among U.S. children in half by 2012 and ending it by 2014.

  1. Provide the funding and the guidance necessary to enable most elementary and secondary school in American to provide every student with free school breakfasts (regardless of their family income) in the first class period.

  1. Provide the funding to enable every school in America to provide free lunches to all their students, regardless of family income. (By making school meals universal in this way, the country can decease government funding on paperwork now used to make income eligibility determinations and instead use that money improve the nutrition of children.)

  1. Increase reimbursements to school districts that provide healthier foods, particularly for districts buying from small local farmers.

  1. Make the Women Infants and Children (WIC) nutritional assistance program an entitlement available to any low-income parent or child who needs it and fund nutritional improvements in the WIC package.

  1. Increase reimbursements for both government and non-profit agencies that sponsor after-school and summer meals for children.

Call Alexandra Yannias at (212) 825-0028, ext. 212 with any questions or for help organizing an advocacy event.

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