Titus’ Weekends Without Hunger Bill Included in Child Nutrition Act Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s Third District spoke at the Education and Labor Committee markup of the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act
BigNews.Biz - Jul 18,2010 - Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s Third District spoke at the Education and Labor Committee markup of the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. This legislation includes Titus’ Weekends Without Hunger Act. Titus’ comments on the manager’s amendment, which includes mandatory funding for the Weekends Without Hunger provisions and passed this morning, are below.
“Mr. Chairman, thank you for your leadership on this. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill.
“Across the country, almost one out of every four children is at risk of going hungry. In the school district I represent in Southern Nevada, over 45 percent of children rely on the free and reduced price lunch program. That means more that than 140,000 students in Southern Nevada are facing hunger at home, and many depend on school meals as their main source of food throughout the week.
“While school meals help keep children healthy and ready to learn during the days that school is in session, there is currently no targeted federal nutrition program that is available to provide these children with food during the weekend or during holidays. A vacation from school should not mean hunger for children.
“Food banks around the country, including Three Square food bank in Las Vegas, have stepped up to meet the challenge of hunger on the weekends for children through programs like Backpack for Kids. In Clark County, Backpack for Kids operates in 178 schools, assembling and distributing approximately 5,200 weekend backpacks each week that are filled with nutritional, non-perishable food for children.
“I believe at the federal level we can and should be doing more to support these kinds of programs. That is why I am so pleased this bill includes provisions of a bill I introduced earlier this year, the Weekends Without Hunger Act. This would prevent children from going hungry when they are not in school over the weekends and holidays. And I am especially pleased that the manager’s amendment strengthens the provisions in the underlying bill by providing mandatory funding for the Weekends Without Hunger provisions.
“With this manager’s amendment, H.R. 5504 will establish a five-year pilot program that provides commodities to eligible institutions, like non-profits, schools, and food banks, to carry out projects that provide these nutritious foods to at-risk school children over the weekend and holidays. Each year $10 million will be distributed for the purchase of commodities – enough funding for approximately 3 million weekend food backpacks. To ensure that the federal funds are well spent, the bill also requires an interim and final report on the program evaluating the effectiveness by the Secretary of Agriculture.
“Mr. Chairman, thank you again for your leadership in this matter and for including the funding for the Weekends Without Hunger provisions in this manager’s amendment. And I would urge my colleagues to support it.”