Special Blog Post By: Cindy McCown, Second Harvest Food Bank Vice President of Community Engagement and Policy

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In 2016, individuals, organizations, faith communities and anti-hunger organizations including Second Harvest Food Bank worked hard with policymakers to reauthorize funding for the federal child nutrition programs.  Unfortunately, we were not able to do so.

The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR) that governs many federal nutrition programs for low-income children provides funding for a 5 year period.  During this process, there is opportunity to strengthen the programs to better address the food needs of our nation’s children and their families. This past year, there were many interesting proposals and promising new investment ideas considered to have deeper impacts on the lives of hungry children.  Programs that are impacted include:

  • The Summer Food Services Program – Provides meals to children during the summer. This summer, select libraries in both Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties provided healthy meals along with enrichment activities.
  • National School Lunch Program – Provides lunch to qualified children at school.
  • The School Breakfast Program – Provides breakfast to qualified children at school.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) – Provides nutrition education and food for infants, young children and pregnant women.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program – Provides meals and snacks to children and adults in child and adult care centers, as well as well as children participating in an afterschool programs.

There has been concern expressed about what will happen to the programs without the reauthorization.  All of the programs will continue to operate.  By not moving forward with the reauthorization, it limits the ability to make new investments, improvements and policy changes within the programs.

In 2017, it will be critically important to stay informed about how important these programs are to providing nutritious meals to children and their families.   Having access to nutritious meals is an essential component to children being able to develop, grow, learn and thrive to their full potential. For more information, contact Second Harvest Food Bank and visit FRAC’s Legislative Action Center.