Thank you President Obama Administration for your Investments in Preventing Child Hunger
More than 13 million children face hunger in the U.S. today. Food backpack programs locally impact the lives of food insecure children. One primary way to increase food security and reduce hunger in America is by the federal government partnering with cooperating organizations. This effort provides food to children, families and people in need. The Obama Administration was dedicated to ensuring that American children and families had the support they needed to build a better future. One focus for this Administration were individuals that experienced job loss, illness, or work that payed less than a livable wage.
During the Obama Administration several initiatives were developed to improve food security and nutrition for vulnerable children. These initiatives included:
Free breakfast and lunch to all students in high-poverty areas. This reduced the administrative burden on schools, eliminated the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility, and removed the stigma associated with free meals.
Added a cash benefit to WIC participants to purchase fruits and vegetables.
The Healthy, Free Kids Act updated school nutrition standards for the first time in fifteen years.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. This initiative was dedicated to solve childhood obesity by exercising, planting gardens, and eliminating food deserts. (Please refer to my September 30, 2016 blog, “Do You Live in a Food Desert” for more information.)
The Obama Administration established new federal guidelines for FY2017 to ensure most low-income children have year-round access to food year around. Included in the guidelines:
Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program (Summer EBT) providing supplemental food benefits during the summer months for families with children eligible for free and reduced lunch.
State agencies can choose to utilize Medicaid data to certify students for free and reduced price lunches. This process would link eligible children to nutritious school meals while reducing paperwork for states, schools and families.
Of course, there is always anxiety during presidential transitions. We are so grateful for the advancements in nutrition during the Obama Administration. These advancements provided children access to food and nutrition for an active and healthy life. We are hopeful that the Trump Administration will support these core nutrition programs to ensure Americans have the food they need to thrive and maintain healthy lifestyles.
“Let’s All Eat Together”