Today the House of Representatives passed S 3307, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act. The bill, already passed through the Senate, reauthorizes important child nutrition programs like school lunches. Highlights of the legislation include:
- Expanding the Afterschool Meal Program to all 50 states;
- Increasing the federal reimbursement per meal for free or reduced price lunches;
- Enhancing the nutritional quality of food served in school-based and preschool settings; and
- Making “competitive foods” offered or sold in schools more nutritious.
- Supporting improvements to direct certification for school meals for children eligible for other assistance programs like Medicaid;
- Improving area eligibility rules so more family child care homes can use the Child and Adult Care Food program – supporting care agencies operating outside of school systems.
The highlights included in this bill are important and should certainly be supported. However, in order to pay for the new improvements Congress partially funded them with $2.2 billion in Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps).
In order to address child hunger in the U.S., children and families both need access to assistance, ensuring nutrition at school and at home. Programs like SNAP allow families on tight budgets to stretch their funds further than they would go on their own.
Now that Congress has passed Child Nutrition in this manner, both they and the Obama administration must work to restore the SNAP offset.