Keeping children fed is everyone's responsibility. One in seven children in America are food insecure (what the federal government used to call "at risk of hunger"); often missing meals because their parents do not make enough money. All children deserve to eat healthy meals everyday, so that they can grow up healthy, concentrate in school, and have the energy to play and learn. Helping kids eat also means that their parents can focus on work and making ends meet, assured that their children are not going hungry. At Just Harvest, we advocate for better child nutrition programs that reach more kids, provide better meals, and reduce the stigma of receiving help.
In 2010, we are focusing on:
- The federal reauthorization of the five major child nutrition programs, including: 1) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); 2) school lunch and breakfast programs; 3) child care meals; 4) summer food; and 5) after-school snacks and dinners. Each of these programs deserves more funding and greater reach. Key issues include increased reimbursement rates to providers in each of the federal programs and expanding free school meal eligibility up to 185% of the poverty line.
Our priorities for the coming Child Nutrition Reauthorization are to:
· Get us closer to President Obama’s request of $1 billion a year over 10 years. Without this amount of funding we are limited in what can be accomplished.
· Improve the area eligibility test from its current 50 percent to 40 percent. This would open the door for additional sites in the Summer Food Service Program and expand children’s access to nutritious free meals during the summer months.
· Eliminate unnecessary paperwork that is a barrier to participation, through data-based eligibility systems in schools in high-poverty areas and through improved direct certification systems.
Click here to sign Just Harvest's Child Nutrition Reauthorization Sign On Letter
- The expansion of summer food programs here in Allegheny County. At more than 200 summer feeding sites around the city and county, thousands of children are able to access a healthy free meal each day during the summer. This simple service makes a big difference to participating families, and services should be expanded to more sites in communities of need.
If you are interested in starting a free Summer Food site for children, please contact Shauna Ponton at: (412) 431-8960 or click here to contact her via e-mail.
For more information on child nutrition programs in Allegheny County and our ongoing advocacy efforts, contact
To learn about the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), its eligibility standards, and how to apply, visit Allegheny County's WIC page.
Click here to take action on this and other issues.