December 17, 2009

The National Anti-Hunger Organizations (NAHO) today released the Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger in America by 2015, recommending nine steps that will collectively eliminate child hunger in the United States. The report was drafted in response to President Obama's pledge to end child hunger by 2015.

"While the President's goal is ambitious, it is also achievable," said Dr. H. Eric Schockman, Chair of NAHO."The Roadmap outlines the steps our country must take to make the President's goal a reality for all children. NAHO believes the United States can be free of childhood hunger by 2015," Schockman said.

NAHO presented its report in a briefing today on Capitol Hill. Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, gave opening remarks. Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition, and Family Farms, reacted to the report.

"No child should go hungry," said Sen. Brown, author of the Hunger Free Schools Act."But during these challenging economic times, more parents are struggling to feed their children. We all share a responsibility to end childhood hunger. Success will require a coordinated response between the government, private, and non-profit sectors. This Roadmap should serve to remind us of the work ahead."

To end child hunger, the Roadmap recommends increasing economic opportunity, bolstering income supports, and strengthening the nutritional safety net. The report also calls for leadership."Presidential leadership will be critical to our success, both to enact the necessary policy changes and to make this goal a priority for Congress and state and local government," Schockman said.

The Roadmap also includes a list of "Immediate Steps" that translates report recommendations into priority actions to be undertaken right away. One of those is the reauthorization of child nutrition programs, up for renewal in 2010. Child nutrition programs provide food assistance to 18.5 million low-income children each school day, but we fail to connect millions more eligible children with the food they need. NAHO calls on the President and Congress to provide major new investments to fill gaps in current programs, reduce access barriers, boost participation and improve nutrition.

A report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that, as hunger increased in 2008, the number of children in food insecure households rose by 4.2 million to 16.7 million. Nearly one in four U.S. children is now at-risk of hunger, living in families that struggle to put food on the table.

NAHO cited the dramatic increase in child food insecurity as a call to action."If we fail to end child hunger in our nation, we are all responsible for, and we are all impacted by, the tragedies that result–children who cannot learn in school because they are hungry, children who endure long-term, negative physical and mental effects because of inadequate nutrition," Schockman said."Hungry children, their families, and our country as a whole suffer the life-long consequences of these reduced outcomes."

NAHO is a coalition of the nation's leading secular and faith-based organizations working to end hunger in the United States. For the past eight years, NAHO has worked collaboratively to strengthen federal nutrition programs and raise awareness of hunger. NAHO is dedicated to sound public policies that will ensure economic independence and food security for all Americans.

President and CEO of Feeding America, Vicki Escarra is available for media interviews.


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