U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs like USDA's Food Nutrition Service (FNS) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) help improve access to food and healthful diets for millions of Americans.
March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation. We could not have done this work without the support of our partners. Below is a story from one of our partners, Share Our Strength, about a pilot conducted through our Child and Adult-care Food Program, or CACFP. Through CACFP, schools can offer one meal and/or one snack in a congregate meal setting as part of enrichment programs offered outside of regular school hours.
By Wendy Bolger, Director of Program Innovation Strategy, No Kid Hungry
“Any time we can feed an additional kid, even just one, that’s a win!”
Who doesn’t need an energy boost around 3pm? Kids may be out of school by 3pm, but their day is far from done. Most kids have a full afternoon of sports, activities, and homework to do, and to be successful, growing bodies and child-sized tummies require a nutritional boost. Read more »
A healthy breakfast is a critical school supply. Just as you would never expect a student to excel without access to their textbooks, we can’t expect them to excel without the daily fuel they need for their brains and bodies.
Good nutrition is just as important to a child’s future as a quality education—maybe even more so. We can’t expect kids to learn, excel and achieve if they aren’t properly nourished from day one. Share Our Strength’s new report, Hunger in Our Schools, illustrates how the healthier school breakfasts and lunches are working to address the twin crises of childhood hunger and obesity, particularly for low-income children. Healthy meals set up our kids for success, and school meals are a critical and effective part of that.
–Secretary Tom Vilsack
As a nation, we spend a lot of time, effort and money on ways to better educate our children. In recent years, there have been fierce debates on No Child Left Behind, Common Core, teacher qualifications, textbook standards and more. These battles ignore one key factor, however: If our children are too hungry to learn, their success is doomed before we’ve even begun.
Working with the research firm SalterMitchell, No Kid Hungry recently completed a new national survey of 1,000+ educators across the nation as well as a series of focus group interviews with dozens of teachers and principals. The new report, “Hunger In Our Schools,” underscores the fact that hunger hampers a child’s ability to learn, but school breakfast offers a chance to solve this problem for millions of children. Read more »
The No Kid Hungry New Mexico Campaign, an initiative of the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, is gaining partners and momentum. The campaign is less than a year old, but already progress has been made on the 2011 goals: Increasing participation in the summer meals program, school breakfast, and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s so important to connect eligible people with the federal nutrition safety net. And that is exactly what Share Our Strength and its partners are doing in New Mexico and across the nation to end childhood hunger.
Part of the No Kid Hungry New Mexico campaign centers on school breakfast, an area of special interest to me. I can see the potential to reach more children just by changing the way breakfast is offered to students. A healthy breakfast makes a big impact on a child’s well being – physically and mentally. That translates to better attentiveness, performance and behavior in school, too. This method also eliminates the stigma for low-income children of coming to school early for a free breakfast in the cafeteria. And many children simply can’t get to school before the first bell. Read more »
I was privileged to be part of a recent celebration in Little Rock, Arkansas. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe hosted a press conference with Share Our Strength and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to announce the achievements of the first year of their state-wide campaign to end childhood hunger.
Last October when the initiative was launched, Arkansas had the highest rate of childhood hunger in the nation. The governor was appalled and decided to do something about it. The Arkansas No Kid Hungry campaign kicked off with the main strategy of increasing participation in existing federal nutrition assistance programs. Their first-year goal was to increase participation in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by five percent, and to increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program by 10 percent. Read more »
Last month I spoke to food bank leaders at the Feeding America Central Region conference, which was held in Baton Rouge, La., and hosted by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Attendees came from over 20 states to strategize about meeting the challenges of these tough economic times. Feeding America’s food banks help supply thousands of food pantries and emergency food sites across the U.S. and are among the many charitable organizations working hard to figure out ways to deal with decreased donations and a higher demand for food.
I told the group that it’s important that they continue to get the word out to food bank clients that USDA nutrition assistance is available to folks who meet the eligibility standards. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women Infants and Children program (WIC) still provide critical aid to individuals and families that may experience food insecurity. I also reminded them to encourage parents in their communities to enroll their children in school lunch and breakfast. School meals help ease the burden on families to provide three meals a day to the children in their households. Read more »
I didn’t know there was a museum devoted to southern food until our regional administrator, Bill Ludwig, was notified that he had been selected to receive their inaugural Humanitarian Award for Public Service. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is appropriately located in New Orleans, where food is definitely an art form!
Southwest Regional Administrator Bill Ludwig holds the inaugural Humanitarian Award for Public Service, which was presented to him by Liz Williams, president and director of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans, La.
When I asked museum president and director Liz Williams about the inspiration for the award, she said, “We wanted to create an award that reflects that public service and being a humanitarian can work hand in hand. We wanted a person who had long service, who was doing good, and who was doing that good just because, and not to get recognition. We considered others, but Bill rose to the top.” Read more »