School-Meal Changes Are Bad for Philly’s Children

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by Congressman Bob Brady



As summer comes to an end and Philadelphia schools get ready for the upcoming school year, it’s important we work to ensure all children have the necessary tools they need to succeed.

These tools include readily available access to nutritious meals. Research shows a healthy diet helps a child’s physical and cognitive development and improves their ability to concentrate in school. That’s why I’ve always been a strong supporter of school nutrition programs, such as the summer-meals program and the national school-lunch program. They help feed hungry children in need.

Unfortunately, the Republican proposal in Congress for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill, the Improving Child Nutrition & Education Act of 2016, would gut these critical nutrition programs, instead of building upon their success.

This bill contains harmful provisions that would be devastating to our schools and unfairly affect our children’s ability to learn. One particularly bad proposal changes the Community Eligibility Program, which helps feed millions of children in vulnerable schools nationwide. Currently, if a school or school district has an “identified student percentage,” students that government agencies identify as vulnerable, of 40%, the whole school is entitled to free-lunch benefits. However, this proposal would raise the qualifying threshold to 60%, allowing fewer schools to participate and more children to go hungry.

In Philadelphia, this means that more than 14,000 students will be impacted. This is completely unacceptable. No child should have to sit through a full day of class hungry, not knowing where their next meal will come from.

Not only would this proposal affect the Community Eligibility Program, it would also block grant the school-lunch program – a dangerous provision that gambles with school-meal funding. It would allow up to three States, including Pennsylvania, to opt for capped funding and make it easier for States to redirect these vital funds elsewhere. Block-granting the school-lunch program rolls back school-meal funding and hurts our most-vulnerable students.

That’s why I joined hundreds of my colleagues in opposing this harmful bill. We sent a letter to House leaders asking them to strengthen nutrition programs in this bill, not weaken them. It’s our job to make sure no child in America goes hungry, and I will continue to fight for Philadelphia children as this bill advances.

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2 Responses to School-Meal Changes Are Bad for Philly’s Children

  1. It may be the only good meal a child receives for the day.

    Gregory Hughes
    July 18, 2016 at 5:15 pm

  2. I’m making a protest over my school lunch because my school lunches come in plastic and … I don’t think anyone wants fake food that comes out of a plastic bag. I’ve been in my school since 1st grade … and the lunches have always been the same.

    angry student# 6
    December 20, 2016 at 9:27 pm

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