Today I started the day by attending CT Speaker of the House Task Force on Children and the Recession Press Conference at Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro joined Speaker Christopher Donovan & Representative Gail Hamm to discuss the current hunger situation not only in CT but also in our country. Despite the fact that CT is a wealthy state there is a major lack of nutritious foods available for our children. On average 105,806 (13%) children under18 years of age in CT are food insecure. -- Feeding America Report, May 2009. In New Haven 24.2% of people live below the poverty line. (The national average household income of a family living below the poverty line is less than $21,834 per year.) -- U.S. Census Bureau, ACS, 2007
Our children are lucky to have such a strong advocate in DC; Congresswoman DeLauro is a huge supporter of our children. She is advocating on behalf of our children for an increase in funding within Child Nutrition Reauthorization. President Obama has asked for $1 billion a year over 10 years for funding; the Senate’s plan calls for only $450 million a year for 10 years. Congresswoman DeLauro will be marching up to the hill and engaging her colleagues to find the funding to fulfill the President’s request. In fact she thinks the $1 billion number for 10 years is too low and will be advocating for additional funding.
CT is leading the country in the fight against childhood hunger. CT is the first state to establish a Task Force on Children and the Recession, RB # 5360. The children in the recession leadership team are to implement and coordinate the state's emergency response to children affected by the recession. The team shall consist of the following members, or their designees: the Commissioners of Public Health, Education, Children and Families, Social Services, Higher Education and Developmental Services, the Labor Commissioner and the Chairman of the Child Poverty and Prevention Council.
Did you know that Connecticut is the last state in the nation for the percentage of schools participating in school breakfast, and only 39% of all children get breakfast? How about that 25% of children that eat a free or reduced price meal at school get a meal in the summer? That Summer Feeding programs help close the achievement gap? What about all the federal funding we're missing out on because of low participation rates? If CT were to ramp up school breakfast and summer feeding to rival the national average the state would see an influx of $8.4 million in reimbursements. Why are we leaving so much money on the table when there are SO MANY CHILDREN who need these meals?
In New Haven there are too many children who rely on school meals as their ONLY nutrition of the day. When schools are closed for vacation or the summer these children lack access to nutritious foods! New Haven is not alone in this predicament. Every town in the State of Connecticut has children that are HUNGRY.
School breakfast should be a requirement in all schools that operate the National School Lunch Program. Children that eat breakfast perform better in class; disciplinary issues disappear and attendance rates increase because children want to come to school so they can eat breakfast! Summer feeding should be required in schools with a free/reduced percentage of 50% or more. See pictures below of map of towns that operated a summer feeding site and the towns that served school breakfast in 2009.
Want to find out how many children in your child’s school are hungry and lack access to nutritious foods at home? Ask a teacher.
Want to help me change school meals to allow for ALL children to have access to nutritious meals through breakfast, summer feeding and increase in funding?
Call, email or write your CT and US Legislators and let them know that you support providing nutritious meals to ALL children in CT and that you support increasing funding to school meals across the board. Find your legislators by clicking here: http://www.votesmart.org/%20
Want to support ENDING CHILDHOOD HUNGER? Go to www.TasteOfTheNation.org/NewHaven and purchase your tickets or make a donation. 100% of ticket proceeds support the children of CT!