Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World released the following statement on the introduction in the House of Representatives of the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act. The bill would reauthorize child nutrition programs – including school meals, summer feeding programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). If passed, it would be the first child nutrition reauthorization bill enacted since 2010. The following statement can be attributed to Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World:
“Bread for the World celebrates the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act. Families with children have been hit especially hard by rising food prices, and this legislation will help ensure more kids receive nutritious meals both while at school and during the summer when school is out.
“It will also make it easier for expecting mothers and mothers and their small children to receive the nutrition they need. The 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is the most critical period in human development. Children who lack good nutrition during this time face lifelong health problems and physical and intellectual delays.
“The reauthorization of child nutrition programs is long overdue, and we urge lawmakers to quickly pass this bill.”
The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act would, in part:
increase the number of children who receive free school meals by expanding community eligibility which allows high-need schools to offer free meals to all students at no charge;
expand access to summer meals and create a nationwide Summer EBT program;
provide grants to make school meal programs more sustainable by reducing food waste and educate students about the amount of safe, healthy, edible food wasted every day;
improve WIC by requiring clinics to offer services over the phone and video and allow benefits to be issued remotely;
extend WIC benefits to children up to 6 years old, and extend certification periods to two years for infants, children, and postpartum women.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), chair of the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee.