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Washington, D.C. – Today, Bread for the World said it strongly opposes the House of Representatives’ Education & Workforce Committee Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill. The bill would impose strict restrictions on families’ and schools’ ability to participate in free and reduced-price lunch, breakfast, and summer meals programs, denying potentially tens of thousands of eligible students access to healthy meals.
“Bread for the World strongly opposes this bill as it is written,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The bill would deny untold numbers of eligible children access to the meals they need to learn and grow. These meals serve as a lifeline for vulnerable children because kids are hit especially hard by the effects of hunger and malnutrition.”
The bill, which was introduced Wednesday evening by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), would make it harder for children to access free school meals. It substantially cuts the number of high-poverty schools that are eligible to implement community eligibility, which reduces administrative work and increases school lunch and breakfast access. The bill also fails to adequately close the summer hunger gap and weakens evidence-based school meal nutrition standards.
One in five children in the U.S. lives at risk of hunger. For every six low-income children who receive a school lunch, only about half also get a school breakfast. Only one also gets a meal during the summer months. As part of its 2015 Offering of Letters campaign, Bread for the World members wrote over 220,000 personal letters and emails, and made thousands of phone calls, urging Congress to pass a child nutrition reauthorization bill that improves and strengthens child nutrition programs.
“As this legislation moves forward, we urge lawmakers to make significant improvements so that no eligible children are denied access to the healthy meals they need to thrive,” added Beckmann.
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