Newspaper article Roll Call

Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Vacation | Commentary

Newspaper article Roll Call

Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Vacation | Commentary

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Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Vacation | Commentary

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* By Shane Rogers

* Sept. 21, 2015, 2:51 p.m.

Even though the school year is now underway for America's school children, what those kids eat during the summer is up for debate as Congress reconsiders reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.

The Child Nutrition Act, or the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,authorizes funding and sets policy for the Department of Agriculture's child nutrition programs -- the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Programs.

While most debate has focused around the nutritional standards of the meals being served through the programs, quieter discussions have been taking place over expanding the reach of other programs such as the Summer Food Service Program and the NSLP Seamless Summer Option.

"Regular access to healthy meals in the summer months is important, not just for health but for students' academic well- being," said Kathy Krey, director of research and assistant research professor for the Texas Hunger Initiative through Baylor University, in her written statement before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on April 15.

Of the 19.7 million school children who, on average, participated in the Department of Agriculture's NSLP on a daily basis during the 2014 school year, only 3.8 million of those kids were served a meal in the month of July over that same year. While the 16 percent participation in 2014 is an increase from the 15 percent in 2013, making it the third consecutive year of growth for USDA's Summer Nutrition Programs, advocates believe the number is still way too low. …

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