‘A Daily Fight to Find Food’
In case you missed it, National Public Radio aired a great set of stories about childhood hunger yesterday and today. “A Daily Fight to Find Food: One Family’s Story profiles the Williamson family, of Carlisle, PA, as they rely on a patchwork of food pantries, grocery stores, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to feed themselves.
The second part, “Eating Nutritiously: A Struggle When Money is Scarce,” looks at the choices many families have to make between eating healthy foods—and just plain eating. “A gallon of milk is $3-something,” Elaine Livas, director of a local food pantry, tells NPR. “A bottle of orange soda is 89 cents. Do the math."
Thousands of families face similar struggles in the United States. Nearly one in four children lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. And for many families, SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps) run out during the third week of the month.
That’s why it’s critical that Congress fully fund the child nutrition programs that are up for reauthorization this year. These programs include school breakfast and lunch programs; preschool, summer, and after-school meal programs; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). They are vital to getting kids the food they need.
President Obama requested $1 billion a year in new resources for these programs in his budget earlier this year, but the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a child nutrition bill that only provides $450 million a year. And in its draft bill, the House Education and Labor Committee would invest only $800 million per year in these programs.
You can influence the reauthorization of these programs by urging your member of Congress to provide the full $1 billion investment so we can connect more kids with the food they need. For more information, read about the importance of child nutrition programs, including our background paper on childhood hunger.
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