By Eric P. Mitchell
Today, 8-year-old Aidan and his 10-year-old sister Leylanie in Philadelphia will eat a free lunch at school. For many children like Aidan and Leylanie, school meals are the only sources of healthy food they get on a daily basis.
As I shared with you recently, 1 in 5 children in our nation live at risk of hunger. For every six low-income children who receive a school lunch, only about half also get a school breakfast, and only one also gets a free meal in the summer. There is clearly a gap here — many children aren’t getting all the meals they need. But Congress has an opportunity right now to close this gap and improve national nutrition programs for our children.
Child nutrition programs are a lifeline for our nation’s most vulnerable children. Thanks to your efforts, the 2015 Offering of Letters: Feed Our Children campaign has generated more than 97,000 hand-written letters, 35,000 personal emails, and 2,600 phone calls going to Congress.
The bill that’s funding the current child nutrition programs expires today, September 30. But Congress hasn’t finalized a new bill yet. We’ve been assured that national child nutrition programs will continue to serve the nutritional needs of children tomorrow and beyond.
Just as Congress’ work isn’t done, ours isn’t either. Our faithfulness in speaking out will be critical in ensuring Congress writes and passes a strong child nutrition bill that connects more children with the meals they need to thrive.
Please act on behalf of children and call 800/826-3688 or email Congress today. Congress has several competing priorities this fall. Tell your U.S. representative or U.S. senators that feeding children at risk of hunger must be on their agenda.
Eric P. Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.