New Report Lays Out Plan to End Child Hunger

When Obama was running for President, he promised a campaign to end child hunger by 2015. Now the Food Research and Action Center has issued a set of strategies to achieve this goal.

Each strategy includes specific recommendations. Here’s a summary:

  • Restore economic growth, with a focus on creating more good jobs for low-income workers
  • Raise the incomes of the lowest-income families by retaining and building on the refundable tax credits in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, improving other income supports and increasing the minimum wage
  • Strengthen the SNAP/Food Stamp Program by expanding eligibility, increasing benefits so that recipients can afford a minimally adequate diet, improving the way benefits are calculated and reducing red tape
  • Strengthen child nutrition programs so that more children participate and receive sufficient, nutritious food
  • Engage the entire federal government in ending child hunger
  • Work with states, localities and nonprofits to expand participation in federal nutrition programs, e.g., by providing grants for outreach
  • Make sure all families have convenient access to reasonably priced, healthy food, e.g., by supporting the development of grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods

This is a large agenda. But it’s doable if we, as a nation have the will. Polls indicate that a majority of Americans would support the FRAC approach. But we’ll need ongoing leadership at the top, in both the Administration and the Congress.

And that, I think, means that they’ll need to hear from us. Because good intentions could well be swamped by competing priorities and concerns about the deficit.

The Administration has proposed $1 billion more per year for the child nutrition programs. But it’s going to take more to end child hunger–let alone move us to the day when every child is born to a family that can afford to feed her.

In the long run, ending child hunger will strengthen the economy and reduce public costs. But will we make the up-front investments to get there?

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