05:48 PM Nov 04, 2010
With Congress returning November 15th, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and fellow advocates are gearing up for a final push on Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). We are working hard to secure a compromise that will both pass the child nutrition bill and restore the cuts to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) that were used to partially pay for the Senate bill.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) makes a number of improvements to nutritional quality, ending childhood obesity, and takes a step forward in reaching President Obama’s goal to end childhood hunger by 2015. Part of the bill is paid for with future benefit cuts to SNAP (previously known as food stamps) participants. Though it is not a perfect bill, it is the most likely opportunity for Congress to make proactive reforms to these important programs by the end of the year. One in four children live in food insecure households. The passage of S. 3307 is paramount to putting an end to this problem.
There are a variety of steps you can take in the days leading up to the vote on S. 3307:
1. Send an email to President Obama urging him to continue supporting the child nutrition reauthorization bill and to safeguard and restore SNAP funds.
2. If you work for a national, state, or local organization consider signing on to this letter to Representative George Miller (Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee). Nearly 1,000 organizations nationwide have signed on, but we still need your support. Also be sure to send the letter to local partner agencies and ask for their support. (The deadline to sign on to the letter is November 12th).
3. Use social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) to draw attention to the issue of child hunger in America and the importance of passing the child nutrition reauthorization bill. Use the hashtags #CNR and #hunger on Twitter. You can also link to articles written about the issue, statistics and reports, or videos advocating on behalf of the legislation. (Feeding America will be releasing a great new video on November 5th that can be found here).
4. Contact your Representative. Outreach to Members of Congress is incredibly important if we are to pass S. 3307 the week of November 15th. If you can meet with your Representative before s/he returns to DC, please do so. Otherwise make sure to call and write letters. The week of November 8th the JCPA will be sending out an action alert that includes a letter to Representatives. Also on November 15th, there will be a National Call-In Day for Child Nutrition (the JCPA will send out an action alert through Insider).
5. Place an op-ed. Members of Congress pay close attention to what is printed in their local newspapers. An op-ed is a visible way to let your Representative know that this must be his/her top priority when they return during the lame duck Congress. You can find a sample op-ed here. If you can partner with another faith leader or a local direct service provider (the director of a local food bank, someone who runs an after school snack program etc), even better. If you would like help adapting this sample op-ed for your community, contact JCPA Communications Fellow Ben Suarato. The ideal time to place this op-ed is November 8th-16th.
6. The US Department of Agriculture will likely be releasing its Food Insecurity Data report for this year on November 15th. This provides the perfect opportunity to talk about hunger in America and the child nutrition bill. You can use this data for a blog entry or an action alert to your field.
For more information of the child nutrition bill and ways to get involved please contact Senior Policy Associate Elyssa Koidin.