Alliance to End Hunger Raises Concerns about House Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill

May 11, 2016

Minerva Delgado, Director of Coalitions & Advocacy, Alliance to End Hunger

The Alliance to End Hunger is deeply troubled by harmful provisions in the newly-introduced “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act” proposed by Rep. Todd Rokida (IN-4) of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The current bill outlines tighter regulations and significantly decreases the number of schools and children able to benefit through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a provision through which high needs schools can eliminate school meal applications and offer breakfast and lunch to all of their students at no cost. The CEP has a number of benefits, including reduced administrative burdens on schools and parents, less stigma around poverty in schools, and increased access to nutritious meals for more students.

“School meals are a critical source of nutrition for all schoolchildren, even more so for food insecure children,” stated Rebecca Middleton, COO of the Alliance. “Now is the time to close gaps in service and ensure all children can have the healthy foundation they need to learn and grow.”

As Congress considers this bill, the Alliance to End Hunger strongly encourages members to address concerns around accessibility to nutritious meals for children, both during the school year and in the summer months.  “While the bill includes modest investments in summer feeding, it does not go nearly far enough towards solving the summertime hunger problem,” stated Ambassador Tony Hall, Executive Director Emeritus of the Alliance.

Hunger is a prominent issue in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 in 7 people in the United States struggle with hunger, including 15.3 million children.  Child nutrition programs serve over 30 million children through school meals, nutrition support for mothers and infants (WIC), care for children and other vulnerable individuals (CACFP), and additional vital programs.  As an organization working to collectively end hunger, the Alliance recognizes the importance of federal nutrition programs in lowering food insecurity, improving nutrition, and advancing good health among children.