New Bills Target Increasing Access and Participation for Low-Income Children in Nutrition Programs

From the Food Research Action Center (http://www.frac.org):

 

Several child nutrition bills already in the legislative hopper could influence the “chairman’s mark” (or blueprint bills) that House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) each are expected to introduce in early 2010. Anti-hunger advocates should weigh in with Members of Congress while they are at home over the winter recess visiting state and local agencies and nutrition program sites and encourage their support for bills that increase access and participation for low-income children in pre-school, school-based and out-of- school-time nutrition programs. Members of Congress are expected back in Washington for votes January 12th. Below are details about the key bills on which to advocate over the winter recess.

 

  • Year-Round Access to Meals Through Community Providers: On December 10th, Representatives Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) introduced the Ensuring All Students Year-round (EASY) Access to Meals and Snacks Act (H.R. 4274 at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-4274). The bill would allow local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations to feed children meals and snacks 365 days a year-after school, on weekends and school holidays, and during the summer-through the Summer Food Service Program.
  • Access to Nutritious Meals for Young Children Act:  he Access to Nutritious Meals for Young Children Act (S. 2749 at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-2749/H.R. 4402 at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-4402), introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), would enable more children in child care to access healthy meals and snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The legislation would allow the option of a third meal service (typically a snack or supper), increase CACFP reimbursements to support nutritious meals, improve the area eligibility test for child care providers in low-income neighborhoods, strengthen the community-based support system for homes, and streamline paperwork requirements for parents and programs.
  • Universal Classroom School Breakfast Expansion: On December 15th, Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), introduced the Universal Classroom Breakfast Expansion Act (H.R. 4325 at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-4325). H.R. 4325 would authorize a USDA grant program for states to receive funding to help schools start universal classroom breakfast programs. The grants could be used by schools to purchase equipment to start classroom breakfast programs, including carts, portable heating and cooling units, and other costs associated with starting a program. Grants would be targeted to the highest-need schools; states could withhold up to five percent of their grant to conduct outreach to schools with the greatest number of low-income children.

FRAC Resources and Action Needed: For an updated matrix of all priority Child Nutrition Reauthorization bills and recommendations for “taking action” on anti-hunger community priority bills, respectively, go to http://sites.google.com/site/cnrrelatedlegislation/ and http://www.frac.org/Legislative/action_center/index.html.

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