Be an Advocate
The House version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act was released April 20th, 2016 from the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. The Houston Food Bank is deeply concerned with the House’s version of this important bill. This current version of the bill aims to undo the progress made from the 2010 reauthorization that demanded more nutritious food and increased access to programs. There are many flawed items that can be read in full here. However there is one troubling item that needs to be highlighted so it does not slip by congress.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (Section 110 Line 14)
This program provides free healthy fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to school age children enrolled in schools who participate. The House bill has removed the term “Fresh” from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The bill language states that all forms of fruits and vegetables may be used. This language is vague and leaves room for interpretation. Will canned fruit in high-fructose corn syrup be allowed? Are salted processed carrot chips a vegetable?
40% of the foods distributed by the Houston Food Bank are fresh fruits and vegetables. We understand how fresh produce is essential to a balanced and nutritious diet for our clients. The fresh fruits and vegetables provided by the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program may be the only place that many school-aged children can access them.
Please contact your House of Representative Congressperson today and let them know this change is not acceptable. “Fresh” must remain in the language of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. Our children deserve healthy and better quality foods. Find your representative here.
We need your help to tell the US House of Representatives that SNAP (food stamps) must remain flexible! The draft of the House budget is calling to “Block Grant” SNAP. Currently, SNAP funding is run through the Federal Government. The program offers money and services to all individuals who qualify for the program.
If SNAP funding is switched to a block grant, the Federal Government will issue a finite amount of money to each state for SNAP use, instead of an unlimited pool. This change will give States the ability to govern how those funds are used, impose their own rules and restrictions, and will be unable to respond to fluctuations in their local economies.
Hunger is a national concern and not one that should be limited to state imposed restrictions or funds. It is important that SNAP retains flexibility to respond to increased needs like natural disasters, such as hurricanes, or local economic crises, such as increased lay-offs.
The House returns to session on April 12th, 2016 and is expected to vote on the budget soon. We urge you to contact your US House Representative and tell them to reject block granting SNAP funds.
For information click this link to see an article from the Washington Post from Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden.
How to Reach Your Representative and Senator in the Texas State Legislature
How to Reach Your Member of Congress
How to Reach Your U.S. Senator
“The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016”has been passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Please call on our U.S. Senators Cornyn and Cruz and urge that they:
- vote in support The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016;
- strengthen summer feeding programs for children as this Act does;
- seek every opportunity to provide critically-needed, new resources to strengthen and improve the bill’s vital nutrition programs for our children.
Tell them your name and city, that you vote and that you will be watching.
The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 strengthens the:
- Child and Adult Care Food Program;
- Summer Meals Program;
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- National School Lunch Program;
- School Nutrition Standards; and,
- Support for Program Operations.
During the school year 2.8 million Texas students participate in the free or reduced lunch program, which provides breakfast and lunch five days a week. These students often go without consistent meals on the weekends and holidays.
The long summer break is a particularly difficult time for such students, yet only 12 per cent of eligible students participate in the Summer Meals feeding program, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.
The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 is a huge step in addressing this and other critical nutrition gaps affecting millions across our state of Texas.
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.
Click here for addtional information hunger resources.
For additional questions, please contact Dr. Valerie Stone Hawthorne at 713-547-8611.