Child nutrition programs help our children get the nutrition they need to grow and learn. Federal nutrition programs help low-income children at different ages and in different settings to reduce hunger and promote nutrition. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) reaches children from birth to preschool, while school breakfast and lunch programs serve school-aged children. Food banks and other nonprofits operate summer, afterschool, and weekend programs, often through federal programs, to make sure children have nutritious food when school is out. The successful, cost-effective federal nutrition programs play a critical role in helping children in low-income families achieve access to quality nutrition, childcare, educational and enrichment activities while improving their overall health, development, and academic school achievement.
Congress Must Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs
Child nutrition programs provide a critical safeguard against hunger, but they are only effective when they reach the children who need help. Too many children are left without the nutrition they need when they are away from school. All too often, kids facing hunger lack access to food simply because a program is not offered in their community or they cannot access a program site, especially over the summer.
Of the nearly 22 million children who receive lunch assistance at school, only 3.7 million receive food assistance on a typical summer day.
Congress has an important opportunity to improve the health of millions of our nation’s children. By passing strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) legislation that strengthens child nutrition programs, especially during out-of-school times when children are hard to reach, we can help close the child meal gap.