A number of people have appeared on my radar lately calling for changes — in Milwaukee, but also beyond — in the quality of meals for kids in schools. So, when I got an e-mail from Hunger Task Force the other day about the Child Nutrition Act, I read it with interest.
Locally, Hunger Task Force Milwaukee has been working to get the word out about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), which regulates programs that feed millions of children via school breakfasts and lunches, summer meals programs, Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program.
The Child Nutrition Act — reauthorized every five years — brings more than $200 million in federal funds to Wisconsin each year.
The Child Nutrition Act is important in Milwaukee, where 200,000 children in Wisconsin live in poverty, 600,000 children eat lunch at school and 120,000 children eat breakfast there. The Fueling Young Minds serves more than a million meals to kids in Milwaukee in the summer.
HTF recently issued a statement expressing fear that when the new Congress convenes in January, child nutrition won’t be high on its agenda.
“If the lame duck Congress does not pass a new child nutrition bill before they adjourn in November, a huge opportunity to alleviate childhood hunger will be lost,” the statement said.
“The Congress that got voted out a couple weeks ago will meet on Monday (yesterday) and it is their last chance to a child nutrition bill. The new Congress begins in January and there is concern that child nutrition will not be a priority for them.”
I checked in with Hunger Task Force on the issue today and Jon Janowski, director of advocacy at HTF, who is in Washington, D.C. right now, said, “It is very unlikely that there will be a vote by the end of this week which means that after Congress resumes after the Thanksgiving break there will be a window of 5-days to get this bill passed.”
That means there’s still time, if you want to get involved, to check out this link and contact your elected officials to express you opinion on Child Nutrition Reauthorization.