It’s approaching five years since President Barack Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The purpose of the bill was to improve the nutrition in kids throughout the country. With December marking another round of proposed budget cuts from the Senate, anti-hunger groups are keeping watch that funding for the act doesn’t get cut.
Last month, Congress passed a temporary federal budget, but Brett Weisel, the advocacy director for Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity, is still paying close attention to the upcoming budget announcement: “What’s more important than insuring [sic] that our nation’s kids have healthy food all the time? It has to be one of our top priorities as a country,” was his comment in a recent interview.
Under the current mandate, all federal child nutrition programs are being funded. That includes both the national breakfast and lunch programs, and the Special Supplements and Nutrition Program for Women and Children (WIC), among several other such initiatives aimed at helping to make nutritious options more available to kids in all communities.
Weisel is somewhat optimistic. Despite a government that’s been largely divided on many issues, the significance of child nutrition has been one of the bills in which both major parties have traditionally seen eye to eye. In the same interview, Weisel says, “Thankfully the child nutrition bill is, historically, one of the most bipartisan bills there is,” adding, “Our hope is we can mobilize support to show Congress that this bill is a priority. It has to be a priority and it has to get done.”
This is not the only time Weisel and Feeding America have been proactive in bringing attention to child nutrition.
Just last week, Feeding America announced a partnership with The Hershey Co. under the name “Nourishing Minds.” The Nourishing Minds partnership is part of Hershey’s initiative to provide basic nutrition to one million children by the year 2020.
The Hershey’s initiative and partnership with Feeding America is grounded in the idea that proper nutrition is imperative to both physical and cognitive development in children. By ensuring children across America are properly fed, Hershey’s believes they can begin to establish the skills they need to succeed in life. As J.P. Bilberry, chairman, president, and CEO of Hershey, notes, “We still believe that bright futures start with basic nutrition, and our global social purpose is grounded in putting strategic action behind our belief.”
As part of the partnership, Hershey’s is agreeing to support Feeding America food banks in six U.S. cities for this year, a number that’s set to increase as the partnership continues. Nancy Curby, vice president of corporate partnerships at Feeding America, says, “Children should not have to worry about where they will find their next meal. Yet, one in five struggle with hunger in America. With Hershey’s support, we are able to provide more meals to children in need, which is critical to their growth and development.”
Sources for Today’s Article:
Erdman, S.L., “Anti-Hunger Group Urges No Cuts To Child Nutrition Programs,” WABE News web site, October 20, 2015; http://news.wabe.org/post/anti-hunger-group-urges-no-cuts-child-nutrition-programs.
Schroeder, E., “Hershey details new global social initiative,” Food Business News web site, October 13, 2015; http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Business_News/2015/10/Hershey_details_new_global_soc.aspx?ID=%7BC274C9E6-4CBB-4F23-8A89-F9C1F99284F2%7D&cck=1.