WASHINGTON, January 27, 2016 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) was honored to take part in a conversation hosted by the White House today about strategies to prevent child hunger in America, including federal nutrition programs such as school meals and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
We also are pleased that the Obama Administration continues to illustrate its deep commitment to reducing child hunger in America by increasing investments in proven public programs that ensure children receive the nutrition they need for their healthy growth and development. The White House announced today that the President’s FY2017 Budget will invest $12 billion in a Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (Summer EBT) program over the next 10 years. This will ensure millions of low-income children who benefit from school meals continue to have access to the food their bodies need during the summer months. Research shows that hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation, which is why we are thrilled that this investment will build so substantially on Summer EBT pilots and the Summer EBT provision in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.
In addition, FRAC and our partners, for years, have been calling for the ability for state agencies to use Medicaid data to certify students for free and reduced–price school meals without separate applications. A new initiative announced today by USDA will roll out a pilot program in the upcoming school year that will allow five state agencies to use Medicaid for direct certification, which help ensure even more low-income children have access to the nutritious foods they need to stave off hunger. The Administration’s longer-term goal is to have 20 states using Medicaid data for school meal certification.
The conversation at the White House today also underscored how important the SNAP program is to the health and well-being of children and other low-income Americans, pulling together leading researchers to describe the new and powerful evidence of SNAP’s strengths.
Today’s White House conversation and announcements mean several steps in the right direction for preventing child hunger in our country. Still, more is needed. We will continue to work with our network of anti-hunger advocates across the country to further build the political will needed to make FRAC’s “Plan of Action to End Hunger in America” a reality so that no child in America experiences hunger.
Statement attributable to James D. Weill, President, Food Research & Action Center