From the Kitchen to the Congress: A Child Nutrition Reauthorization Blog

Child Nutrition Forum Meets, Strategy Takes Shape

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February 12, 2009 - Yesterday a meeting of the child nutrition Reauthorization forum was held at the offices of the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, DC. The forum is co-chaired by SNA and the Food Research and Action Center and includes over one hundred anti-hunger, religious, education, medical, nutrition, direct service, school food, preschool and child care, union, children, after school, industry and agricultural groups representing over 20 million members in all. These organizations have joined together again in 2009 to advocate on behalf of the child nutrition programs.

The meeting yesterday included about 20 groups in person and on the phone from around the country. Discussions focused on the budget process and a multi pronged strategy for reaching out to the Obama Administration and Budget Committee members in the House and Senate. The Administration is expected to present an outline of the upcoming fiscal year budget on February 24, 2009.

The critical question right now is how much money to ask Congressional and Administration leaders to set aside for the child nutrition reauthorization bill. In order to fund the key priorities outlined in the Forum's Statement of Principles (see blog post from Feb. 3, 2009, below for more info) it is estimated that $4 billion per year should be set aside, over five years. The challenge becomes making the case for this amount of funding. One way SNA members can help is to sign on to the Statement of Principles. The more groups - especially grassroots groups like food banks and school nutrition chapters at the local level - that sign on to the Principles, the better the odds of securing the funding necessary to achieve a meaningful and significant child nutrition reauthorization. Look in the very near future as well for sample letters to the editor and other tools to bring the need for funding to the public.

What can you do right now?

Sign your group on to the Child Nutrition Forum Statement of Principles now - and build the momentum and the movement towards adequately funded child nutrition programs. Click here. 

Take a few minutes and fill out the form here to provide your personal anecdotes and experiences on why adequate school nutrition funding is needed in your school district and nutrition program: Click here. 

Please post a comment below to share how you are organizing within your state, chapter or community to build support for school nutrition funding. We have heard of great ideas and actions happening already in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Who else?