Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Hungry Children States Will Get Less Money Annually, Which Will Not Respond to Increase in Poverty

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Hungry Children States Will Get Less Money Annually, Which Will Not Respond to Increase in Poverty

Article excerpt

In lockstep hysteria to implement every edict of the Contract With America, Congress is about to commit a grave error affecting millions of hungry American children.

With spectacular results over a half century, our nation's school-lunch program is soon to be splintered into 50 new programs all to be haphazardly established with $7.2 billion less than Democrats had provided through 2000.

In the Jefferson County Elementary School in Fayette, Miss., children do not walk to the cafeteria, they run. In recession-whacked cities of the Northeast, in dirt-poor parishes of the South, and in immigrant-challenged counties of the Southwest, 93,000 American schools are providing 25 million hungry children the only reliable meal of their day.

The Contract With America deeply threatens this reliable meal and will most certainly create more roadblocks of uncertainty, more hunger and more children suffering from cognitive development problems due to lack of nutrition.

As a leading anti-hunger advocate in the Congress, I am appalled that Republican leadership is waging war on children from low-income families.

When President Harry Truman established the school-lunch program in 1946, he said nothing was more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare.

Today, our nation spends less than one half of 1 percent of our budget to provide that one source of nourishment every poor kid can count on. That entitlement - one simple meal for one poor child - is eliminated by the Contract With America.

Under the contract, states would get a reduced amount of money for the year, which would not rise if the number of poor children in a state increases. If a recession casts hundreds of thousands more children into poverty and renders them unable to pay for school meals, no further federal funds would be provided.

During the last recession, the number of low-income children receiving free school lunches jumped by 1. …

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