CHC works with allied organizations to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal #1: To cut in half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015. Progress on achieving this goal has stalled with the recent food price crises and the global economic recession.
CHC staff also cooperate with allied organizations to shape major new policy initiatives. In 2008 and 2009, CHC cooperated with over 40 organizations to help write The Roadmap to End Global Hunger. This seminal vision document influenced the Obama Administration’s current strategy to end global hunger, the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative.
Through Feed the Future, the Obama Administration is demonstrating strong U.S. leadership in confronting global hunger. Feed the Future will enable poor farmers to produce more food, increase their household income, and improve the nutrition of their children in critical growth years.
During 2010-2011, CHC is working alongside many humanitarian organizations to support Feed the Future by:
CHC supports the Obama Administration’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. CHC has joined other national anti-hunger organizations in providing recommendations for a Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger. We are currently engaged in implementing those legislative and regulatory recommendations.
During 2011, CHC will focus on protecting and strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and implementing the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
The U.S. House passed an FY Budget Resolution that contained a block grant proposal for SNAP. This proposal would end the entitlement status for SNAP and cut benefits by $127 billion over a 10 year period. SNAP is the only federal nutrition program available to all low income people and expansion of this program to all eligible individuals is a key strategy for achieving President Obama’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. (More than 50 % of current SNAP participants are children.)
CHC opposes a block grant for SNAP because it would drastically reduce benefits and end the entitlement status of the program. Currently, if applicants meet SNAP eligibility criteria, they are guaranteed (entitled) to programs benefits. CHC expects broad bipartisan support for its opposition to a block grant for SNAP in the Senate.
In response to concerns regarding obesity, amendments have been proposed to recent Farm Bill and Health Care Reform legislation that would require the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a nationally approved list of “good foods” and “bad foods.” SNAP participants would be denied the opportunity to purchase any food item on the “bad food” list using SNAP funds.
CHC opposes limiting food choice for SNAP participants. Anti-hunger advocates have worked hard to eliminate “stigma” in SNAP by making food purchases through electronic benefit transactions (EBT cards). Eliminating food choice would reinstitute stigma in SNAP. Additionally, USDA research indicates that the diets of SNAP participants are generally comparable to the diets of Americans of similar economic means, and that Americans of all income groups need to improve their diets1. Finally, the cost of reprogramming computers and retraining grocery store staff for the hundreds of thousands of food items in stores seem inappropriate and not in the interest of treating low income people fairly.
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 reauthorized the major child nutrition programs and contained important nutrition program improvements and expansions. CHC filed comments in support of the USDA regulation providing 6 cents in increased reimbursements for school lunches that provided more fruits, vegetable, whole grains and lower fat dairy products.
CHC also strongly encouraged USDA to find more financial support for the school breakfast program. Reauthorization contained new requirements for improving the nutritional quality of school breakfast, but provided no increased reimbursement for these meals.
We will also work with allied groups to get a strong competitive foods rule. USDA defines “competitive foods” as “any foods sold in competition with [a federally reimbursable school meal program] to children in food service areas.” Examples might include food and drinks sold during the school day in vending machines, student stores, á la carte items sold in the school lunch lines, or as fundraisers. CHC believes that these foods are not particularly nutritious, and because they are available at lunch time they compete with school meals. CHC want foods that are nutrient rich (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lower fat dairy) to be available to children throughout the day and throughout the entire school campus.
CHC will also be monitoring the nationwide expansion of the after school supper program and the removal of barriers to participation to the summer meals program.