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Public Statements

Letter to Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Farr, Subcommittee on Agriculture - Additional Funding for Child Nutrition Programs

Today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-4) along with 35 of her colleagues sent a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Chairman Robert Aderholt and Ranking Member Sam Farr urging them to provide $35 million for grants through the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Moore authored legislation in 2010 to create this grant program and successfully fought to have this program included in the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act. Congress appropriated $10 million for the program last year and President Obama has included a request for $35 million in the FY 2014 budget he recently sent to Congress.

"Our children are our most precious resource," said Rep. Gwen Moore. "We cannot expect them to excel in school and be the best that they can be if they begin the school day with an empty stomach. A nutritious breakfast is crucial to their success and ultimately our success as a country. Providing funding to help schools create or expand participation in school breakfast including through innovative programs like breakfast in the classroom will mean more kids at their desks ready to learn in the morning. It is my hope that the committee takes a serious look at this request and works to secure resources for this very important program."

The letter reads as follows:

April 17, 2013

The Honorable Robert Aderholt The Honorable Sam Farr
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Agriculture
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Farr,

We write to urge the subcommittee to provide $35 million in the FY 2014 Department of Agriculture Appropriations bill for grants authorized under section 105 of the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-296) to help reduce the number of children who start the school day on an empty stomach.

Supporting these competitive grants will help local educational agencies and schools purchase the equipment needed to serve healthier meals, improve food safety, establish, maintain, or expand their school breakfast program, and increase access to the morning meal.

The science is clear about hunger and the adverse impact it has on children's development and learning. Connecting kids to programs like school breakfast helps ensure they get the healthy food they need to learn and grow and remain attentive through the school day, thus improving the overall school and classroom environment. When we invest in ensuring access to healthy breakfast and lunches through the child nutrition programs, we support the considerable investment in education made by federal, state, and local officials while ensuring that the individual child has the best opportunity to learn.

Strong research evidence supports that children who eat breakfast at school have fewer absences and better academic performance and behavior. The Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act made a number of changes to strengthen these programs including the school breakfast program. This includes creating a competitive grant program to help schools establish, maintain, or expand their school breakfast program. These grants would be prioritized for schools where at least 75 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.

Unfortunately, three years later, Congress did not fund these grants until just recently in the FY 2013 Department of Agriculture Appropriations bill (included as part of H.R. 933 funding the federal government for the rest of FY 2013) despite calls from the Administration including in its FY 2013 budget request and school breakfast advocates. This delay deprived schools of a powerful new tool to help reduce hunger among students.

According to the Food Research and Action Center's (FRAC)School Breakfast Scorecard, in the 2011-2012 school, only about half (50.4 for every 100) of all low-income students who participated in school lunch also participated in school breakfast. If all states were able to reach a standard of having at least 70 low-income children eating school breakfast for every 100 low-income children eating school lunch, an additional 4.1 million low-income children would eat school breakfast according to FRAC.

Increasing school breakfast participation helps schools and school districts achieve educational and health goals for children, improves student achievement and attendance and reduce food insecurity.
By funding these grants, we can allow schools to choose the best options and practices that they believe will work to increase the number of children who start the day with a healthy breakfast.

Sincerely,

Gwen Moore
Member of Congress

Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress

Frederica S. Wilson
Member of Congress

Maxine Waters
Member of Congress

John Conyers
Member of Congress

David Cicilline
Member of Congress

Jan Schakowsky
Member of Congress

Tony Cardenas
Member of Congress

Charles Rangel
Member of Congress

Elijah Cummings
Member of Congress

Andre Carson
Member of Congress

Chaka Fattah
Member of Congress

Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress

Corrine Brown
Member of Congress

Dan Kildee
Member of Congress

Gloria Negrete McLeod
Member of Congress

Theodore E. Deutch
Member of Congress

Terri Sewell
Member of Congress

Dave Loebsack
Member of Congress

Jared Huffman
Member of Congress

Steve Cohen
Member of Congress

Marc Veasey
Member of Congress

Raul Grijalva
Member of Congress

Judy Chu
Member of Congress

Ann Kirkpatrick
Member of Congress

Carolyn McCarthy
Member of Congress

Loretta Sanchez
Member of Congress

Lois Capps
Member of Congress

Dina Titus
Member of Congress

William Pascrell
Member of Congress

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Member of Congress

Melvin L. Watt
Member of Congress

Joaquin Castro
Member of Congress

Matt Cartwright
Member of Congress

Keith Ellison
Member of Congress

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott
Member of Congress


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