Letter to the House Urging Passage of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill
November 30, 2010
On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association, including 278,000 food service personnel working in the nation’s K-12 schools, we urge House passage this week of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307), which would reauthorize critical child nutrition programs.
NEA members know first-hand that hungry children cannot learn, and that access to an adequate and healthy diet is essential to academic success. The clear link between good nutrition and learning is evident in schools across the nation every day. Yet, far too many children lack consistent access to an adequate, nutritious diet. Hungry children are often irritable, feel ill, and lack concentration. In contrast, students who come to class well-nourished have fewer behavioral and attendance problems, and have higher test scores.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act offers a real chance to improve nutrition for all children. By improving opportunities for healthy meals in and out of school, the bill would take an important step forward in addressing both child hunger and obesity. The bill would help reduce hunger and increase children's access to healthy meals, including by better connecting eligible children with free school meals. It would also authorize grants to retain summer food program sponsors, improve and expand breakfast programs, and encourage states to develop comprehensive strategies to end child hunger.
S. 3307 would also make progress against childhood obesity and improve the nutritional quality of meals by strengthening nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, providing schools with increased resources and training to improve meal quality, and supporting farm-to-school programs and school gardens.
We are pleased that the bill provides resources for training and professional development for food service workers and that it does not include any outsourcing of school food service jobs. Food service workers with strong roots in the communities in which they work can offer the best service to our nation's children.
We stand with child and anti-hunger advocates in expressing concern that the bill is paid for with a reduction in SNAP benefits, and urge Congress to address the SNAP cut through other timely vehicles.
Again, we urge you to VOTE YES on passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Director of Government Relations
Manager of Federal Advocacy