May 2014. Playing Politics with School Lunches
This week, the House Appropriations Committee passed an agriculture spending bill that would allow schools to opt-out of nutrition standards that were established under The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which requires school meals with more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains while using less sodium. The legislation also weakens the Women Infants and Children (WIC) initiative, making items like white potatoes eligible for purchase despite their weak nutritional value.
72 million children live near or at the poverty level in the United States, with one-third of these children either overweight or obese. With nearly 32 million children nationwide participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 12 million participating in the School Breakfast Program, these daily meals play an essential role in combatting poverty and obesity.
Republicans are determined to overrule the views of medical professionals so these children can eat fewer fruits and vegetables, and pregnant mothers and infants can consume more potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. Instead of playing politics with the health of our nation’s future leaders, Congress should focus on improving children’s access to the nutrients they need to succeed in the classroom and lead healthy lives. We must come together to address the priorities of our children, not those of special interests and food industry giants.
-Sen. Nancy Pelosi, May 30, 2014
Whitesboro, Texas has taken steps to improve nutrition for students. All Hayes Primary School students will receive free breakfast and lunch starting next school year, thanks to a federal grant based on campus poverty levels. The Hayes school has more than 40 percent from households below the poverty level. Thanks to the federally backed Community Eligibility Provision, all Hayes students will be fed 2 meals a day for the next 4 years. The program is under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
-Whitesboro News Record, May 22, 2014