Bread for the World Welcomes Major Child Nutrition Initiatives

Every five years, Congress must reauthorize domestic child nutrition programs. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

Washington, D.C.– Bread for the World applauds the new initiatives announced yesterday by the White House to combat child hunger in the U.S. The initiatives include a pilot program to streamline the school meal application process, and a proposal to permanently expand the summer electronic benefit transfer (EBT) program.

“Bread for the World applauds the White House’s continued leadership in addressing child hunger,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The proposals announced yesterday would help connect more hungry children with the healthy meals they need year-round.”

The pilot program is intended to make the school meal application process more efficient and reduce paperwork by using Medicaid data to certify children for free and reduced-price school meals.

The president’s budget request for 2017 will propose a permanent expansion of the summer EBT program. This program provides an EBT card to families in hard-to-reach areas to purchase groceries during summer months if their children receive free or reduced-price school meals.                                                                           

Summer EBT pilot projects have reduced the most severe forms of child food insecurity by up to one-third.

The proposals were officially announced at “A White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America.” The summit brought together government officials, scholars, faith leaders, and recipients of food assistance to discuss ways to reduce hunger and poverty.

In the U.S., one in five children 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.

The bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill, passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week, would take key steps to make summer EBT permanently available in some areas. Yesterday’s proposals build on those improvements and direct additional funds to allow nationwide expansion of summer EBT over the next ten years.

“Bread for the World calls on Congress to fund these proposals in upcoming budget negotiations, and to pass a reauthorization bill that strengthens child nutrition programs,” added Beckmann.

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