Offering of Letters: Child Nutrition

What is the Offering of Letters?

Bread for the World’s annual Offering of Letters campaign engages churches, campuses, and other faith communities in writing letters to Congress. Each year, we chose specific legislation that can make a real difference to people struggling with hunger and poverty as the focus of the campaign.

People write letters, usually as a group, and present them as an offering to God before mailing them to Congress. Hundreds of Offerings of Letters are held each year, resulting in tens of thousands of letters to Congress. Supported with prayer, these letters are a bold witness to God’s justice and mercy. They have, and continue to have, a significant impact on the decisions made in Congress.

Federal nutrition programs for children are a critical part of the fight against hunger.  Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

What is the 2015 Offering of Letters About?

Bread for the World is urging Congress to renew our federal government’s major child nutrition programs, including those for school meals, summer feeding, and the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program for pregnant and new mothers along with their small children.

Every five years, Congress must re-authorize the law that funds these programs, which have helped millions of children over the decades. Thanks to the leadership of Bread for the World and its church partners, the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act expanded and improved these programs.

Now is the time to renew these national nutrition programs. Be part of Bread’s 2015 Offering of Letters by taking a few minutes to write letters to your members of Congress.

Despite gains made in 2010, too many children are unable to get the meals they need to stay healthy and hunger-free. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Learn About the Issue

Nearly 16 million children in the United States — one in five — live in households that struggle to put food on the table. Many of these children have parents who have job and work hard, but their wages aren’t high enough to cover the high costs of rent, transportation, and utilities — and daily meals.

So our federal government’s feeding programs serve as a lifeline for vulnerable children and families. Because children are hit especially hard by the effects of hunger and malnutrition, nutrition programs aimed at children are particularly important.

A healthy start in life — even before a child is born — pays off for years, not only for individual children and families, but for communities and our nation as a whole.

Only one out of every 20 grocery bags that feed people who are hungry come from church food pantries and other private charities. Federal nutrition programs, from school meals to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), provide the rest. Our government’s child nutrition programs serve millions of children each year. 

most of these programs provide ready-to-eat food in places where children can be reached directly. Food provided through these programs meets science-based nutrition guidelines.

To receive free or reduced-price meals or WIC benefits, children must live in households that are “low-income” as defined by the federal government. 

 

The new Congress has an opportunity to give more children at risk of hunger access to the healthy food they need. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Act Now

In this important year of action on child nutrition programs, Congress needs to hear from people across the country that it should invest in children now.

The new Congress has an opportunity to give more children at risk of hunger access to the healthy food they need. But there are challenges in doing so.

With the start of the 114th Congress in 2015, there are new members and new leaders with little to no experience with child hunger or child nutrition programs. These members of Congress must be educated on the importance of feeding children.

Additionally, the tight national budget and political climate make it harder to talk about programs that require more funding.

Still, Congress must act by September 30, 2015, when authority for many of these child nutrition programs end.

Write to Congress
Barbi Izquierdo with her son. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Real-Life Stories About Nutrition Programs for Children

Lunch 'n' Learn

At precisely 11:20 a.m. on a cold, late-fall morning, the bell rings at Anne Frank Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa. A minute later, the morning stillness in the cafeteria is disrupted by the conversations and shouts of more than 200 second graders. They file into the room by classroom and go through the line to pick up their lunches. For the next couple of hours, the large room is filled with noise and energy.

Among the first group of students eating a school-provided lunch daily is Aidan, the 7-year-old son of Barbie Izquierdo. His sister, Leylanie, age 9, will eat lunch during her grade’s appointed time 40 minutes later.

This lunchtime routine plays out every weekday at the school and in schools across the United States. Whether it’s breakfast in the morning before classes or lunch at midday, the food provided to school children under national nutrition programs gives them the energy they need for the next few hours of learning. Meals provided after school or at day-care centers are also important parts of the national nutrition program.

While these children don’t think about it, the food that is subsidized by the federal government is quietly nourishing their bodies and brains so they can learn and grow. As Mickey Komins, the principal at Anne Frank Elementary — and probably any educator — will tell you, “We’re teaching for a lifetime — not just for that day.” Read more.

Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World

What We Want Congress to Do

Bread for the World is urging Congress to pass a child nutrition bill that protects nutrition programs and gives more hungry children access to the meals they need to thrive. Specifically, we are asking Congress to: 1) Continue strong investments in child nutrition programs; 2) Improve children’s access to feeding programs; 3) Ensure improvements to child nutrition programs are not paid for by cuts to other vital safety-net programs like SNAP.

Video

Child Nutrition

May 18, 2015

For children's minds to be filled, their bellies need to be filled first.

Tools
from our Resource Library

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    Cada año desde el 2008, el número de personas que padecen inseguridad alimentaria en los Estados Unidos se ha mantenido entre 48 y 50 millones, lo que supone aproximadamente 1 de cada 6 personas en el país. 

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  • The Cost of Hunger

    Last year hunger and food insecurity cost the U.S. $160 billion in health expenditures.

For Faith

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  • Bread for the World Sunday

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    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

For Advocacy

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population....

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    Provee una explicación en gran parte seglar, de cómo Pan para el Mundo lleva a cabo su abogacía ante el Congreso de los Estados Unidos. Explica el proceso legislativo a nivel federal, y cómo los activistas de Pan, como votantes por sus representantes federales, pueden ser partícipes en éste...

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