This just in from the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children:
As many of you are aware, the federal Child Nutrition Act is (over)due for reauthorization. The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously passed a strong child nutrition bill, Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act (S. 3307), out of committee, and last week, the House of Representatives passed their version of the bill, Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act (H.R. 5504), out of committee. Both of these bills reauthorize several major federal food programs including the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). However, if the Child Nutrition Act is not reauthorized before Congress goes on recess in two short weeks, we risk losing the historic investments and improvements for child nutrition programs included in the bills. For example, although at CLOCC we do not feel that the proposed meal reimbursement rate is adequate, if Congress does not take action now, schools would miss out on millions of dollars in meal reimbursements and the opportunity to finally get unhealthy food out of school vending machines. Please urge your Senator and Representative to work with their leadership to move their respective child nutrition bill to the floor and pass it now.
A model letter/email that you can adapt for your organization and send is provided below. (Remember: The more organizations that they hear from, the better!) Your email today can help make improvements to child nutrition programs a reality by the beginning of the next school year. Thank you for advocating on behalf of these bills.
Dear Senator/Representative _______________:
Congress has a lot on its plate this legislative session, but it needs to address what's on kids' plates - now! Renewal of the child nutrition programs has been delayed for a year. However, our children cannot wait any longer. More than 12.5 million American children are now considered obese or overweight. Also, in this tough economy, American families are struggling to make ends meet, and depend on the school lunch, breakfast, and other child nutrition programs to feed their families. If (insert the name of the Senate or House Child Nutrition bill) does not pass:
• Unhealthy food remains in school vending machines.
• Schools will lose millions a year in new meal reimbursements.
• There will be no new improvements to nutrition and physical activity in school and child care settings.
Please reach out to your leadership and urge them to move (the Senate or House child nutrition bill) to the floor for a vote now. I look forward to hearing from you about the prospects for passing (the Senate or House child nutrition bill) this summer.
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