Making the Grade on Child Nutrition

I am blogging today from Washington, D.C.   I am attending the Food Research and Action Center’s Annual Anti-Hunger Policy conference and visiting our federal delegation. There is a real movement here surrounding President Obama’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.

This would mean that by the time our current class of sixth grade students graduates from High School child hunger would be eradicated in our nation.  It’s an exciting vision.

Just as they’ll be working through their junior high, freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years, we advocates must continue to “make the grade” in anti-hunger advocacy.

In the midst of other major issues, children’s health and nutrition needs cannot be lost – particularly now when one in seven children under 18 in Nebraska struggles with food insecurity.

I’m not pleased to report that Nebraska is not at the top of the class on child nutrition programs – we rank 43rd in the nation in low-income child participation in the school breakfast program, and 45th in low-income child participation in the summer food service program.

However, I am pleased to report that there are excellent visions for addressing childhood hunger here in D.C.  Several bills have been introduced to help increase access to and quality of child nutrition programs, including options for decreasing paperwork in the summer food service program and providing start up grants for the school breakfast program.  The bills will come together this spring in a combined “Child Nutrition Reauthorization” bill.  To see more, click here.  Further, the Senate Agriculture committee has contributed a significant portion of the $1 billion needed make critical steps now to end childhood hunger by 2015.

To learn more about our assignments on the state and federal level to address childhood hunger, click here for Nebraska Appleseed’s report “Ending Childhood Hunger: Strategies for Improving and Maximizing Child Nutrition Programs in Nebraska” http://neappleseed.org/food/.

To join our Child Nutrition Reauthorization e-mail list, simply e-mail Kate Bolz at kbolz@neappleseed.org with the subject line “Child Nutrition Reauthorization E-mail List” – and help us to improve Nebraska’s score for child health, nutrition, and well-being.

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