JOHANNS LAUDS EFFORTS TO COMBAT HUNGER
Hunger Awareness Day
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns observed National Hunger Awareness Day today by saluting government and private sector initiatives to end hunger in the United States.
"Improving access to nutrition assistance continues to be a major priority for President Bush and for the Department of Agriculture," said Johanns. "Ending hunger in America will take the combined efforts of all of us - federal, state, and local governments, along with the valued work of non-profit organizations and private individuals."
More people were served in the major nutrition programs in Fiscal Year 2005 than in the previous fiscal year including 25.6 million receiving food stamps each month, 29.6 million children receiving school lunches each day and over 8 million people participating in the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC).
The national nutrition safety net administered by the USDA includes 15 food assistance programs. The cornerstone is the Food Stamp Program, which was created to make nutritious foods available for the people who are most in need. The program serves nearly 26 million people. Over half of all Food Stamp participants are children. Other programs, including the Child Nutrition, WIC and Food Distribution programs serve millions of children and low-income people in schools, clinics, food banks, food pantries and congregate feeding facilities across the nation. USDA nutrition assistance programs touch the lives of one in every five Americans.
National Hunger Awareness Day was created in 2002 by America's Second Harvest to highlight the continued existence of hunger in America. Since then, the Bush Administration has joined with many anti-hunger, faith and community-based organizations to show what Americans can do to combat hunger in their communities.
Second Harvest and similar organizations play a vital role in fighting hunger by delivering federally supported programs, organizing private citizens and non-profit organizations to address food needs in their communities.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers the Food Stamp, National School Lunch and School Breakfast, Summer Food Service, and WIC programs. These programs enable low-income Americans to have access to nutritious foods. Further information about these programs is available at www.fns.usda.gov.