Feeding America commends the White House for convening “A Conversation on Child Hunger,” which took place today in Washington, D.C.
The panel focused on the pervasiveness of hunger in our nation, and the short and long-term benefits that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides to low-income children and families.
“We commend the White House for continuing to shine a spotlight on the issue of hunger in our nation,” said Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at Feeding America. “The discussions today emphasized that SNAP works exactly as it is intended to work – in addition to helping struggling families access food in times of need, it also helps strengthen low-income children’s health, development and educational outcomes.”
The event included comments by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.
“We are pleased that the discussion included a wide array of experts on SNAP from leading academics to people who are fighting hunger at the community level like Carlos Rodriguez, Executive Director of the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Dawn Pierce, who benefited from SNAP during the recession and is now an anti-hunger advocate. Too often misinformation and stereotypes dominate the discussion of SNAP, so getting out the facts is critically important.
“Many important issues were discussed at today’s event. When a child is food-insecure, everything is at risk – their health, their ability to learn and function in school, and their physical and mental development.
“Additionally, we are excited about the evidence-based proposals today that would ensure more eligible children have access to vital child nutrition programs throughout the year. Allowing states to use Medicaid data to certify students for school meals would reduce that administrative burden on schools and families, while improving program efficiency and integrity. We also welcome the expansion of the successful summer electronic benefit transfer program that would provide households with resources to purchase nutritious food directly from retail stores. This program was found to have improved the worst form of food insecurity among children by one-third while also improving their intake of fruits and vegetables. These proven ideas would help ensure more children have access to the food they need, helping close the summer hunger gap.
“Addressing hunger has historically been an area of strong bi-partisan commitment. We urge Congress to continue that commitment by passing a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill,” Davis said.
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Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.