Be an Advocate
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Miller wants to remove from Texas’ Agricultural Code recently enacted restrictions on the use of deep-fat frying and sale of carbonated beverages during the school day in any Texas school that participates in the National School Lunch Program.
Miller’s proposed unhealthy changes will almost certainly contribute to student obesity. Some 25% of high school students in Houston already drink one or more sodas a day, according to a recent Harris County Healthcare Alliance report. Expanded access to more empty calories will lead to replacement of nutritious foods with sugary drinks and expanded waistlines
Further, schools that serve deep-fried food and sodas could be ruled out of compliance with federal nutrition guidelines and would have to pay back reimbursements received under the National School Lunch Program.
Send Commissioner Miller a strong message. Please call his office512-463-1408 and tell him:
- More than 1/3 of kids in Texas are obese; our kids are the fifth most obese among all the states.
- Obesity is strongly related to a number of illnesses including type 2 diabetes – a condition seen almost exclusively in older adults until recently.
- Texans spend $10.5B annually for medical costs of obesity and related conditions; medical costs of unchecked obesity are projected to be $39B per year by 2040.
- Texans should assure our children have the most nutritious foods available in order to support a healthy future.
How to Reach Your Representative and Senator
in the Texas State Legislature
Tell your State Senator or Representative that you support Feeding with Impact -- an effort by the Houston Food Bank and other food banks in Texas who are asking for $20 million to acquire more fresh produce for hungry families and individuals. Our food banks work together through our state association, Feeding Texas.
Of that amount, $18 million would pay for harvesting, packaging, transportation and storage; $2 million would expand Brighter Bites, a Houston Food Bank partner program that provides fresh produce and education to kids and their families in area schools. The program started here in Houston and is expanding throughout the state.
How to Reach Your Member of Congress
Please click the link below to find Your Member of Congress and Contact Information - Who is my Representative
Food insecurity continues to be a persistent challenge in Texas and across the country, as shown by data from the 2014 Map the Meal Gap report, issued by Feeding America. And things could get worse for people in the middle class or low income families, if Congress accepts the federal budget recently passed in the House.
According to Map the Meal Gap, overall food insecurity in the Houston Food Bank’s 18-county service area decreased slightly, but child food insecurity increased by .5%, or 11,000 kids. Many of these kids don’t have a safety net. Roughly one third of children who are food insecure are not likely eligible for any federal food program benefits, including reduced/free school lunch or school breakfast, if the schools they attend don’t offer the meals to all students.
Given this stunning reality, House-passed budget cuts are completely unacceptable. They would harm children and their families while granting important tax reductions for millionaires. The House-passed Budget provides for an $87,000 tax break for each of our 27,347 millionaires, and a $2,000 average increase in taxes for each of our middle class families.
Other House-proposed budget cuts would affect the population served by the Houston Food Bank:
- 296,014 Texan seniors would pay more for medicine through reinstating the prescription drug “doughnut hole”;
- 44,260 college students would not receive Pell Grants;
- and, 12,350 more children would lose access to Head Start programs.
A Call to Action
Please communicate with your Congressional Representative to ask how (s)he voted on the House budget. If (s)he voted for it, please tell them that:
- you vote;
- further cuts in nutrition and other provisions which help Texas children and families are not acceptable;
- and, neither are additional tax breaks for the richest among us.
Did you know?
- Texas has one of the highest rates of child food insecurity in the country
- Every day 66,200 people in Houston are hungry - 5,000 of them children
- Each year the Houston Food Bank feeds 800,000 people - 47% are children
- 43% of hungry families must choose between food and medicine
YOU have the power to help end hunger. Let your elected officials know today that you want them to support comprehensive anti-hunger initiatives. Take a stand now because hunger is unacceptable.
If you have not done so, please register to vote now so your voice counts in future elections.
Make a call to Senator (R-Texas) John Cornyn Office
Phone: (202) 224-2934
District Phone: (972) 239-1310
Make a call to Senator (R-Texas) Ted Cruz's Office
Phone: (202) 224-5922
District Phone: (512) 916-5834
Click here for addtional information hunger resources.
For additional questions, please contact Dr. Pamela Berger at 713-547-8611.