Protect Child Nutrition, Advocates Urge Ag Committees
Ed Walz (Former Staff)Federal Budget Nutrition
Washington – The bipartisan First Focus Campaign for Children sent letters today to congressional agriculture committee members, urging them to protect critical investments in child nutrition. The letters, to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, were sent as each body prepared to consider “Farm Bill” legislation affecting initiatives that fight child hunger and obesity: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), SNAP-Education (“SNAP-Ed”), and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).
“One in five kids will go to bed tonight not knowing if they or someone in their family will have enough to eat tomorrow,” said Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley. “This is a critical time for Congress to protect investments that reduce child hunger and obesity.”
The Senate Agriculture Committee’s draft Farm Bill protects the FFVP and the SNAP- Ed program. However, it cuts SNAP funding by $4.1 billion over 10 years. The House committee’s bill cuts SNAP by more than $21 billion, including an estimated $274 million cut to SNAP-Ed. It also weakens the FFVP, by permitting schools to serve canned, dried, and frozen fruit and vegetable products as though they were “fresh.”
FFVP provides funding to help local schools make fresh produce available to children in low-income communities. SNAP- Ed funds local schools’ efforts to inform students about healthy food choices and the benefits of healthy eating. SNAP- Ed also helps parents learn how to buy and prepare healthy foods and get the most nutritional value for every SNAP dollar. SNAP is the largest federal child nutrition initiative, serving more than 20 million children every year. An estimated 47¢ of every SNAP dollar goes to feed children.
“SNAP, SNAP- Ed, and FFVP work together to tear down the knowledge and cost barriers that stand between children and nutritious diets,” said Lesley. “If Congress is serious about fighting child hunger and curbing the childhood obesity epidemic, it’s essential to protect every one of these initiatives.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.