Across Washington, there is an increasing demand for backpacks at local stores, playgrounds are beginning to fill with the sounds of recess and school buses have started hitting the road in full force. For many parents stretching every dollar to meet their families’ basic needs, fall means something simple yet critical: school lunches and breakfasts will be available again.
But how did families fill the gap over the summer? To answer that question for our elected officials, we recently brought Representative Adam Smith (of Washington’s 9th Congressional District) and Representative Rick Larsen ( 2nd District) to summer meal sites within their respective districts. The goal was to show them the value of federally funded locations where families get assistance feeding their kids healthy meals when school is out.
It was a beautiful day to eat lunch in Seattle’s Pratt Park last Wednesday where children from the community gather for free lunch during the summer. The day was made even more special because we planned a visit by Congressman Jim McDermott (WA-7) to hand out lunches and talk with the folks who use this incredible program.
“Do you want some milk?” The Congressman asked one of the almost 25 kids who picked up their lunch. Many families use this program to supplement the food they provide at home. That’s why summer meal programs are so important – they reach children whose families are struggling to find room in tight budgets to replace meals kids receive at school during the school year.
“Eating healthy meals is absolutely an essential part of child development. This program fills a huge gap,” said Congressman McDermott.
Children's Alliance opposes Initiative 1107, an initiative to the state ballot in 2010. 1107 rolls back revenue that is supporting critical health and education services in Washington State. The campaign to oppose Initiative 1107 released this statement in response to the State's analysis of the financial implications of Iniative 1107.
Our Federal Government handles many pressing issues – from foreign affairs to the environment to the economy. So where do kids fit into the picture? And what does that Washington have to do with what happens in Washington state?
The answer is a lot, which is why we sent our federal staffer to Washington D.C. last week to advocate for kids. What happens in the halls of Congress helps shape what programs are and aren’t funded in our state.
Advocacy Camp is a three-day interactive training that will equip you with the leadership skills to be an effective child advocate.
Right now Congress has the once-every-five-year opportunity to improve the quality of school, child-care and summer meals and make them available to more children.
The Seattle Times ran an oped by Linda Stone, senior food policy coordinator at the Children's Alliance, calling on Congress to listen to the call that President Obama and anti-hunger experts have made to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act with an increase of $1 billion per year over 10 years.
KUOW reports on new findings from the Food Research and Action Center showing there are fewer summer meal programs available for low-income children while the need is rising. In Washington state there are 700 schools, parks and community centers that serve sack lunches — that's 23 fewer than last summer.