WASHINGTON - Bipartisan legislation making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives is needed to help the nation's most vulnerable children receive proper nutrition in school and should be adopted prior to the upcoming congressional recess in August, says a leading Jewish advocacy organization.
The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Education and Labor today approved the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act (H.R. 5502). If enacted into law, this legislation would increase access to important feeding programs and enhance the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings. In addition, this legislation would make improvements to child nutrition programs including the school lunch program, school breakfast program, afterschool snack and supper program, and summer feeding initiatives.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the consensus voice of the organized Jewish community, hailed today's passage and encouraged the full U.S. House of Representatives to consider the legislation prior to the upcoming congressional recess schedule for the month of August. The U.S. Senate is also considering a similar version of this legislation.
"Some of the most forgotten victims of the economic crisis are children living in poverty," said Dr. Conrad Giles and Rabbi Steve Gutow, chair and president respectively of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. "Many of these children and others from low-income communities rely upon school programs to receive the majority of their meals and it is vital that these meal programs are well funded and contain the proper nutrients a child needs. It is incredibly important that Congress continues to take steps to ensure these programs are fully funded and our nation's most vulnerable children have access to those programs that can most benefit them. Time is running out and Congress must act as soon as possible."
JCPA, through its "There Shall Be No Needy Among You" initiative, is a leading advocate of grassroots efforts to stamp out poverty across the United States. For the second year in a row, JCPA partnered with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger to organize a Childhood Nutrition Seder with members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol Building. The Seder, which was entitled "Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat," was based off of a traditional Passover seder and sought to mobilize and equip the Jewish community and its partners to be stronger anti-hunger advocates and to encourage Congress to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act. More than 35 cities across the United States held similar Seders throughout the months of March and April with numerous interfaith partners and child and anti-hunger advocates.
The "There Shall Be No Needy Among You" initiative was launched in 2007 to urge local, state and national leaders to advance legislation and programs that help provide food, shelter, additional work and educational opportunities for the nation's most vulnerable. JCPA's grassroots efforts have led to an increased national commitment to reduce poverty and have inspired communities across the country to mobilize to sponsor anti-poverty programs as part of the "Fighting Poverty with Faith" campaign and other initiatives.