FRAC describes seven strategies essential to meeting President Obama’s goal
Washington, D.C. – The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) today released a new report setting out the seven strategies it deems essential for the nation to meet President Obama’s important goal of ending childhood hunger in America by the year 2015.
The strategies focus both on improving and expanding the nation’s nutrition programs, including SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC and the school meals and summer, afterschool and child care nutrition programs, and bolstering the economy and strengthening supports for working families in order to move more out of poverty, the root cause of hunger in this country.
This report is the first in-depth look at a comprehensive strategy to achieve President Obama’s goal.
“As a nation, we can and must reach this critically important goal of eradicating childhood hunger,” said Jim Weill, FRAC president. “President Obama made this a campaign pledge and his administration has re-committed itself to making sure all children are well fed each day. That will also mean healthier, better educated children with brighter futures. This paper outlines a realistic strategy for accomplishing the goal.”
In the United States, even before the recession, 36 million people faced a constant struggle against hunger, meaning they lack the means to regularly obtain adequate, nutritious food. Among them are more than 12 million children — nearly 17 percent of all children in the country — living in households suffering from hunger or food insecurity, which hinders them from developing healthy bodies and succeeding in school.
To end childhood hunger, FRAC called on policymakers and others to take the following steps:
Restore economic growth and create jobs with better wages for lower-income workers. A broad recovery that creates good jobs with benefits will help parents attain family-supporting incomes.
Raise the incomes of the lowest-income families by bolstering refundable tax credits that help low-income families, increasing the minimum wage and improving other supports for lower-earning workers.
Strengthen the SNAP/Food Stamp Program by increasing benefits to levels sufficient to purchase a minimally adequate diet, expanding eligibility, and make other overdue, targeted improvements.
Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs to ensure that more children at school and in out-of-school settings, such as child care centers and summer and afterschool programs participate and receive ample and nutritious food.
Engage the entire federal government in ending childhood hunger. Ending childhood hunger should be a government-wide priority and meeting it will require not just the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but a new focus in such agencies as the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice and Education, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and key White House offices.
Work with states, localities, and nonprofits to expand and improve participation in federal nutrition programs. These government entities and local intermediaries should expand their efforts to make sure they are taking full advantage of federal nutrition programs and meeting the nutrition needs throughout their communities, and the federal government should provide more support for outreach and strong state performance.
Make sure all families have convenient access to reasonably priced, healthy food. Ending hunger also means giving low-income families better access to reasonably-priced healthy food; one key step is a new national focus on having good grocery stores accessible in low-income communities.
The full report is available at www.frac.org.
“The Obama Administration takes the 2015 commitment seriously, and it is incumbent on the rest of us – members of Congress, governors, other public officials, anti-hunger advocates, faith-based institutions, child advocates, business, labor, and service providers – to do so as well,” Weill said.
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The Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org) is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States. FRAC works with hundreds of national, state and local nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and corporations to address hunger and its root cause, poverty.