Four Reports Reveal Broken Promises to Hungry Children and Opportunity for Change
July 9, 2009 § 1 Comment
Advocacy and Online Marketing Director
Child Nutrition Programs are meant to be a safety net for families struggling to nourish their children. You may be wondering how these programs work, or think they fall short of fulfilling their promise to feed hungry children. Four reports were released this month, providing an in-depth analysis as well as recommendations for improvements.
Child Food Insecurity: The Economic Impact on Our Nation, by Feeding America, reveals the impact of food insecurity and hunger on child health, growth and development, and details the economic effect of child hunger in the United States. This is the first report to link food insecurity and hunger to tax-payer burdens, life-time earnings and other long-term economic issues.
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released Ending Childhood Hunger by 2015: The Essential Strategies for Achieving the President’s Goal. This report is the first in-depth look at a comprehensive and realistic strategy to achieve President Obama’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.
Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report 2009 (by FRAC) provides in-depth analysis of an average 2.9 million children (190,174 in Texas) relying on summer nutrition programs in July 2008. Texas ranks 42 out of 51 states (data counts District of Columbia as a state) in participation, forfeiting millions of dollars in unclaimed summer nutrition funding.
School’s Out… Who Ate? A Report on Summer Nutrition in California analizes the decline in participation of the federal summer lunch program in California. So why should Texans care? The problems faced in California are not typical and the obstacles states face in achieving full participation in federal feeding programs require adequate resources, funding and community support.
In our own backyard, Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staple’s rallying cry to Texas Mayors to support summer feeding programs, and the offer of a donation from H-E-B to the top three cities with the largest increase in summer meals served, it was not enough to offset budget cuts in the program. Austin-based Urban Connection chronicles their recent challenge participating in the program in response to the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department cutting back on the number of feeding sites from 84 to 14.
The message in all of these reports are clear — Child hunger is preventable and unnecessary in the United States. We have the solutions. We just need the social will.
What are we doing about it?
The Food Bank and Texas Food Bank Network has agreed on a set of detailed policy changes for improving the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, due to expire this September. Read the recommendations here.
What can you do about it?
Click here to send your message to Congress.