AUSTIN (KXAN) — Too many American children go hungry — and lawmakers want to know more about how states are implementing child nutrition programs, including school lunches.
Senators are holding a hearing Wednesday to figure out how to spend that money — which programs belong on the menu and which belong in the trash.
Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts says a child’s success in the classroom starts at the lunch table, saying:
“School food service directors are constantly stretching every dollar to provide nutrituous, affordable meals to their students.”
But those healthy meals come at a price.
Programs to feed children cost $30 billion in tax dollars each year.
The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act expired in 2010, but Congress has continued to fudn the federal school meal programs one year at a time. And this year is no different.
Congress must decide which programs should stay on the menu — including the program that reimburses schools for serving milk to children who don’t have access to the school meal programs.
According to Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow, there are over 12 million children in the U.S. who do not have neough to eat. In a hearing of the Committee on Agriculture, Nurtrition and Forestry, Stabenow said:
“This is a crisis of both child health and child hunger. We need to address this crisis by improving access to nutritious food, so our kids get healthier – not hungrier. Our children need healthy lunch options – and they also need wholesome breakfasts and after-school snacks. And we know hunger doesn’t take a break when school is out for the summer. Whether it’s a summer meals program at the YMCA to help prevent the summer learning slide, or a “Veggie Van” driving out to a rural community to ensure children have healthy meals in July – we need to do better.”