For many children, school has been in session for weeks. Lots of things may have changed for them since they broke for vacation—they are taller, older, smarter perhaps. One thing definitely has not changed, and that’s their school lunch.
The Child Nutrition Act expires on September 30th—one year after it was originally supposed to be passed. School lunch advocates, parents and school nutrition directors are all waiting anxiously for Congress to demonstrate its commitment to the health of our nation’s children.
In mid August, right before their break, the Senate passed their version of the bill (Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), but in a troubling move, they funded it by cutting money from food stamps (SNAP). Call me crazy, but this seems to be the nutritional equivalent of stealing from Peter to pay Paul.
As of Monday, Congress is back in session. That means that in the next 15 days the House must pass its version of the bill, and then Congress must reconcile the two and come up with one final version of the bill. That is a lot to do in a short amount of time. It is imperative that we all reach out to our House Reps and urge them to pass this bill before the deadline and to reject any efforts to cut funding to other nutrition programs to do it.
You have held eat-ins around the country; you have signed our petition declaring your support for real food in schools; you have written and called your legislators—you have been amazing grassroots advocates for this entire reauthorization process. Now we are in the homestretch.