Yesterday the House Education and Labor Committee approved the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and sent it to the full House where it will await action. (http://edlabor.house.gov/newsroom/2010/07/bipartisan-child-nutrition-leg.shtml) Many organizations like the Food Research and Action Committee, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Feeding America, and Bread For the World deserve credit for helping to create the political will that made this possible. A big focus of the legislation is increasing access to existing programs – like school breakfast and summer feeding – which has been particular area of importance to Share Our Strength.
The legislation represents a critical milestone in our nation’s commitment to ending childhood hunger. It also represents a major evolution in Share Our Strength’s role from grant maker to other local, state, and national anti-hunger organizations – a role we continue to play – to one of policy advocate as well. The two are mutually reinforcing because it was in the course of making grants to hundreds of other hunger fighting champions that we began to see the gaps in program participation and the challenges of affording full access that are addressed in the House bill.
The legislation still needs to get to both the House and Senate floor and with the Congressional session nearing an end before the November elections, and much unfinished business remaining, there are no guarantees. But if Congress and the President want to ensure that those suffering the most unnecessarily from the recession and unemployment, they will move swiftly to take the final steps needed to ensure that programs proven to work are accessible to all of our children who are eligible.