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Murray Bill Would Help Hungry Children
Ed Walz (Former Staff)Health Nutrition
Washington – The First Focus Campaign for Children, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, today endorsed the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act, legislation introduced by United States Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to mitigate childhood hunger during summer. Research indicates that hunger among families with school-age children jumps more than 34 percent during summer, when children are unable to access the National School Lunch Program and other school meals.
“Kids can’t send hunger on summer vacation, so the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act responds to an urgent need,” said First Focus Campaign for Children president Bruce Lesley.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers the school lunch program, also offers summer nutrition initiatives that make food available through recreation centers and other locations. But children who benefit from school nutrition efforts face barriers, like transportation and limited hours of availability, that prevent them from accessing summer nutrition sites. Estimates suggest that summer meals initiatives reach fewer than 15 percent of children who receive a free- or reduced-price meal at school.
The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act would provide a debit card that parents can use to replace school meals during summer. The proposal is modeled on a USDA pilot program that proved effective in eight states: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. An evaluation showed that the pilot project reached 90 percent of eligible children and reduced hunger by 33 percent.
“Lawmakers say they want evidence-based solutions. Well, here’s a solution that’s field-tested and proven to deliver real results. We urge senators to support this common-sense plan to reduce childhood hunger,” said Lesley.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.