Write A Letter - Child Hunger
Dear Senator/Representative/Governor _____________________,
I am writing for your support of increased reimbursement rates for the School Breakfast Program and the Summer Food Service Program so more low-income children can access the food they need to grow and thrive. The United States is the wealthiest nation in the world yet millions of American children are hungry and malnourished because their families cannot afford to buy food. In my home state of Michigan, more than half of the 1.3 million federal food stamp recipients are children in low-income families. This essential safety net has been unable to protect children from hunger due to rising food prices eroding the purchasing power of food stamp benefits. Children in working class immigrant families are even more vulnerable because non-US citizens face more barriers when applying for food stamps and other government assistance programs. We must take action to ensure that an entire generation of children does not suffer from stunted growth, cognitive impairment, and poor school achievement as the result of hunger and poverty.
Eliminating child hunger in the United States will require increased funding and support for government nutrition programs. Students who eat breakfast in the morning are more likely to perform better in the classroom. The level of reimbursement for the School Breakfast Program needs to be increased to encourage more schools to participate. Currently, some school districts are implementing universal breakfast programs that reduce stigma by providing a free breakfast to all students, regardless of their families’ income. Innovative programs like this should be encouraged and supported. Another critical child nutrition program is the Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals during the summer months when schools are closed. Of the 18 million children who qualified for free or reduced-price school lunches in 2007, only 3 million children received daily food assistance from the Summer Food Service Program. Many children depend on the Summer Food Service Program for their only meal of the day when school lunches are not available. Streamlining the program’s policies and administration along with increasing reimbursement will help raise the number of sponsors that will provide meals to children. In 2009, Congress will be able to enact policies to improve current government-sponsored child nutrition programs when it reviews the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. I am requesting your leadership and advocacy to make sure the law will be reauthorized to significantly combat child hunger.
Thank you for your attention to the pressing problem of child hunger in our country. I look forward to your reply as to whether you support legislation and policy changes that will provide more nutritious food to American children.
_______________________ (Printed or typed name)