After our huge campaign where 20,000 Slow Food supporters gathered for Eat-Ins all over the country, over 100,000 emails were sent and phone calls bombarded Congress, last Thursday the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act - the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. This is the legislation that governs the quality of school lunches. Thanks to everyone for such a huge effort!
The version that passed in the Senate included a bunch of our priorities - more funding for healthier meals, regulations to kick junk food out of school vending machines, and $50 million for Farm to School programs, but it also makes cuts to food stamps in order to pay for them.
The next step is for the House to pass the bill, maybe when they return from break in September. Or maybe they will pass it tomorrow before they head out.
This is why we need your urgent help.
The House bill, which is still being debated, has much of what we asked for but avoids making cuts to food stamps (SNAP) - a move which will impact the children that are the most vulnerable. School lunch should not be funded at the expense of other important food programs.
Contact your legislator now to make sure that we get the bill our children deserve.
Thanks for all you do,Jerusha Klemperer, Program Manager and the Time for Lunch team at Slow Food USA.
If you are concerned about the cuts in SNAP benefits in the Senate version, Feeding America sent this email with details on contacting our senators:
Yesterday, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307). Unfortunately, the Senate made a last minute change to pay for the new investments in the bill by cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). There may be strong pressure for the House to pass the Senate child nutrition bill next Tuesday when the House returns to take a vote on a bill to provide emergency funding for Medicaid and teacher funding.
While we support completing Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year, the Senate-passed bill does not make as robust of an investment in program access that the House bill would make and it is paid for by cuts to SNAP benefits, nearly half of whom are children. This is not an acceptable child nutrition bill for the House to approve, and so we are urging the House to move its version when Congress returns in September.
Feeding America supports the stronger House version because it includes additional investments that help Americans struggling with hunger. We are now calling on all of our anti-hunger advocates to stand up and tell their Representative to pass the House version of Child Nutrition Reauthorization (H.R. 5504) when Congress returns in September. We need to show our leaders in Washington that our nation's children need a strong Child Nutrition bill that puts us on the path toward ending hunger! Help us deliver that message by taking action today!
Calling your Representative is easy, and your voice will make a difference. You can help us get a better Child Nutrition bill!
To make your call, just follow these simple steps:
- Dial the toll-free number---866-548-0332
- When prompted, enter your PIN---161920
- Listen to the instructions, and you will be patched through to your first Senator's office automatically.
- Inform your Senator's office that you are a constituent and deliver this message: "As my Representative I urge you to pass the House Child Nutrition bill (H.R. 5504) when Congress returns in September. It's critical that Congress enact a robust Child Nutrition bill that increases access to programs and improves nutrition without cutting SNAP/Food Stamps benefits."
It looks like we might actually get a school lunch bill passed!