Today, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which reauthorizes and expands the Child Nutrition Act. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation applauds our nation’s leaders for passing this act and standing up for America’s children.
The passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is inspiring. Yet, we must continue, and even redouble, our work to detangle the root causes of poverty and ensure that all children have opportunities to thrive.
We can start by building on the successes around the nation in child nutrition.
In Detroit, families, farmers and schools worked together to pilot a farm-to-school program, which has proved popular enough to implement across the school district.
In Chicago, the Healthy Schools Campaign connected local parents with decision-makers, ultimately resulting in the purchase of more than $2 million in locally sourced foods for healthier school meals.
In the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation, a reservation in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, a majority of students in the Indian Oasis-Baboquivari Unified School District are opting for traditional, nutrient-rich tepary bean stew over pepperoni pizza. That’s a huge victory for a community where diet-related illnesses like Type 2 diabetes have exacted a terrible toll in recent years.
This work is critical. Most American children spend 12 years in school – for 180 days each year, they eat lunch, and sometimes breakfast, on campus. These aren’t just snacks to get them through the afternoon. These are key meals that affect success in learning and the strength to grow – literally helping to shape the brains and bodies of our next generation.
Our children depend on our ability to give them a platform for independence and success. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is an important piece of that platform, but there is much more to do.
Real change comes as youth, families and communities work together to strengthen and create conditions that propel children toward successful futures. We look forward to working in partnership to build on the successes of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, promoting healthy birth outcomes, creating safe places to play and supporting youth and families in reshaping their neighborhoods, towns and communities.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will continue to marshal its resources to assure that all children have an equitable and promising future—a nation in which all children thrive. We all share responsibility for this vision, and we look forward to working with our grantees, partners, and leaders to achieve it.