Reauthorize program to help feed children
By Ellen Fisher on November 26, 2009
© The Gazette
The Gazette's Nov. 19 editorial, "Putting food on the table," highlighted the increase in U.S. food insecurity in 2008 but did not include the shocking data on the increase in childhood hunger. Nearly one in four U.S. children last year was food insecure, living in families who were unsure of how to provide their next meal. The number of children experiencing hunger, or very low food security, topped 1 million for the first time since USDA began collecting the data. Between 2007 and 2008, there was a 56 percent increase in the number of children with very low food security.
As The Gazette urged, all who are able should support our local food banks. But Congress also needs to act.
Reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act has been delayed until next year. This bill includes school breakfast and lunch programs, as well as WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The bill needs to be strengthened during its reauthorization, especially programs providing food for children during periods when school is not in session.
Rep. Dave Loebsack and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin all serve on committees with jurisdiction for this bill. Iowans should urge them to dedicate sufficient resources to increase access and participation in child nutrition programs. We cannot afford to have hunger stunt our children.