A Win for Kids

nutritionThis week, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 was signed into law.  The bill is a win for children’s health and well-being in Nebraska and nationwide.

Watching the bill become a law in a signing ceremony that was (appropriately) held at Harriet Tubman Elementary School, I was proud of the work that Nebraskans and Nebraska Appleseed did to contribute to the effort.   I was also pleased that Representative Jeff Fortenberry, believed in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and voted in favor of this important legislation.

This bill creates a nationwide afterschool meals program, streamlines paperwork for summer and school meals programs allowing more eligible kids to access healthy, nutritious foods, and creates a competitive grant program for School Breakfast Program development, among many other positive improvements. Read all the details

These are real improvements that will really help kids on our state in a few key ways:

  • One in six children in Nebraska is food insecure, meaning that they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.  The Afterschool Meals program will give children one more meal, in addition to school lunch, that they and their parents can count on each day.
  • Streamlined paperwork provisions will allow more eligible kids to connect to federal food programs:  for example, foster children will be automatically eligible, and high poverty schools may simply use census data to prove eligibility for kids, rather than using paper applications – meaning that fewer kids will lose out on meals simply because of paperwork.
  • Schools will be eligible to receive six cents per meal for meeting nutritional standards, helping the approximately one in three children in Nebraska who struggle with their weight to access nutritious foods.
  • Nebraska currently ranks 43rd in the nation in provision of the School Breakfast Program to low-income kids.  The availability of competitive grants for School Breakfast expansion holds great promise for our state.

So, for a moment, let’s celebrate the fact that because good policy work was done on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, more kids will get good meals and fewer kids will have empty stomachs.

Then, let’s get to work, and make sure that the promise this bill holds for Nebraska is made real.  Now it’s our turn: from parents to nonprofits to schools to our state level elected officials, we now get our chance to implement the legislation and reach more hungry kids in Nebraska.  Let’s go!

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