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Tuesday Morning - September 21, 2010

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September 21, 2010

Table of Contents

Time is Running Out! Contact Your Member of Congress about CNR Today!

SNA Featured in Special USA Today Section on Hunger In America

Op-eds, Articles Focus on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Poverty Rates

Rep. DeLauro Sends USDA Letter Asking for Investigation Into Contract Management Companies

Maryland Kicks-off Homegrown School Lunch Week With Help of USDA Official

Grants Awarded by USDA to Help Low-Income Households Garner Nutritious Food

National Institutes of Health Aim to Prevent Childhood Obesity Through Studies

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Time is Running Out! Contact Your Member of Congress about CNR Today!

Time is running out! There are only a few more legislative days before the current Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act expires on September 30, 2010. Please send an action alert to your Member of Congress and ask them to pass H.R. 5504, The Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. Due to the rapidly dwindling days left in this congressional session, we need to let Congress know that action needs to take place immediately on finding the funding and to quickly pass this legislation. School Nutrition Association (SNA) support this legislation as an important step that would strengthen federal child nutrition programs. The legislation builds upon the Senate bill and would:

  • Enhance the nutritional quality of food served in schools;
  • Increase per meal reimbursements for the lunch program;
  • Regulate indirect expense charges;
  • Support improvements to direct certification for school meals; and,
  • Create a new paperless option for some schools.

SNA is also calling on all members to contact their Members of Congress and ask them to remove Section 409 from the H.R. 5504, the House version of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. If passed, Section 409 would, for the first time, establish Federal requirements for locally determined paid school meal prices. School nutrition programs would require schools to establish rules for the amount of per-meal revenue collected for paid meals. SNA is concerned that increasing school meal prices will result in a drop in participation and increase social stigma for children receiving free and reduced price meals, as well as place an increased financial burden on parents during a difficult economy.

Since the beginning of September nearly 1,200 action alert emails have been sent to Congress. Sending in the most action alerts is Georgia, with 242. Georgia is followed by North Carolina with 79, Indiana with 74, and Ohio with 67. Rounding out the top five is New York with 63 action alerts sent.

Please contact your Members of Congress about these two important issues. Click on the link below for sample Action Alerts that you can send to your Member of Congress.

Our Kids Cannot Afford to Wait! Pass H.R. 5504 Now!

Remove Section 409 from H.R. 5504

SNA Featured in Special USA Today Section on Hunger in America

On September 17, over half a million copies of USA Today included a special advertising section titled "Hunger in America." The section, found at http://doc.mediaplanet.com/all_projects/5537.pdf (pdf) , features an article on page 9 from SNA President Nancy Rice on healthy school meals and how parents can get involved in supporting their school nutrition programs. A sidebar includes the Tray Talk logo and web address.

Op-eds, Articles Focus on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

With the deadline to reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs drawing near, media attention is now focusing on this important piece of legislation. In an op-ed published in the Billings, MT Gazette, SNA member Dayle Hayes and two other dieticians called on the House of Representatives to pass a robust child nutrition reauthorization bill. In the piece, they state that if a robustly funded child nutrition reauthorization is not passed, it will cause the country to spend more money on healthcare and other services later. They argue that it is “cheaper to fund child nutrition programs now, than play catch-up further down the line.”

SNA Legislative Counsel Marshall Matz also published an op-ed on Child Nutrition Reauthorization last week. The piece, which appeared in the agriculture community publication Agri-Pulse, focused on SNA’s opposition to Section 409, a provision included in the House reauthorization bill that would establish Federal requirements for locally determined paid school meal prices. In the op-ed, Matz highlight’s SNA’s concerns that required increase in school meal prices will result in a drop in program participation and result in an increase in social stigma for children receiving free and reduced price meals.

National Journal, one of the leading Capitol Hill publications, also ran a story on Child Nutrition Reauthorization. The article focused on the controversy surrounding the offsets that the Senate included to fund S. 3307, their version of the Child Nutrition Act. In approving S. 3307, the Senate voted to redirect funds from the additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds included in last year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the federal Child Nutrition Programs. The article focuses mostly on the debate between the anti-hunger and public health communities. The anti-hunger community wants the House to find a different set of offsets, while the public health community wants the bill to pass. There is also a core group of legislators who also do not want to use the SNAP funds for child nutrition and will vote to prevent that. The article does include a paragraph discussing SNA’s concerns regarding Section 409.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/guest/article_d13dc4f6-be18-11df-841a-001cc4c002e0.html?mode=story  

http://www.agri-pulse.com/20100915S_Dangerous_Child_Nutrition_Reauthorization.asp  

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Poverty Rates

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released poverty rates for 2009 showing that the nation’s poverty rate jumped from 14.3% in 2009. The government said on Thursday that the 43.6 million Americans in need is the highest number to be recorded in 51 years. The poverty threshold as defined by the Office of Management and Budget is less than $21, 954 for a family of four in 2009 and $10,956 for an individual.

Poverty in the U.S. spikes - CNN 

Rep. DeLauro Sends USDA Letter Asking for Investigation Into Contract Management Companies

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking him to launch a review of contract management companies to “identify and recover any federal funds that have been misappropriated through” illegal procurement practices. This summer, New York State reached a $20 million settlement with Sodexo for overcharging 21 New York school districts and the State University of New York system for food service.

In her letter, DeLauro asks Secretary Vilsack to also advise state agencies to be aware of possible illegal overcharges related to vendor rebates and encourage them to be more vigilant in enforcing USDA procurement regulations. In the New York State case, the Sodexo did not pass along rebates to the school nutrition programs, despite state and federal laws that require them to do so. For a complete copy of the letter, please visit the link below.

 Letter to Secretary Vilsack  (pdf)

Maryland Kicks-off Homegrown School Lunch Week With Help of USDA Official

USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Janey Thornton today helped kick-off the 3rd annual Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week at Edgewood Elementary School on September 10, 2010. It is an initiative designed to help children learn where their food comes from and the lifelong benefits of a healthy diet. At today's event, Thornton highlighted the Obama Administration's priorities for improving school meals and advancing the health of our Nation's children.

Thornton also highlighted USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative which seeks to create new economic opportunities, to promote local and regional food systems that help keep wealth in rural communities, and to encourage a national conversation about what we eat and where it comes from in order to benefit producers of all sizes. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs in an effort to promote local foods, and is carried out by an inter-agency task force. Last year, USDA deployed a farm-to-school team to encourage school districts to purchase and serve local foods, and share what's working in communities around the country.

USDA Official Visits Maryland to Kick-off 3rd Annual Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week

Grants Awarded by USDA to Help Low-Income Households Garner Nutritious Food

Last Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced nearly $5 million in grants for eight State agencies to simplify the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application and eligibility systems and improve access to program benefits for America's low-income households. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, helps ensure that people have access to healthy and nutritious food by providing low-income households with electronic benefits they can use to purchase food at authorized grocery stores.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) continues to encourage relationships with private nonprofit organizations with strong community ties to enhance communication between the State agencies and the communities they serve. A priority for this year's grants is to fund a partnership between a State agency and one or more private non-profit organizations. Such collaboration enables the funding of projects which streamline a State's eligibility, certification and recertification processes and make them more efficient and effective.

USDA Awards Grants to Help Low-Income Households Access Healthy, Nutritious Food

National Institutes of Health Aim to Prevent Childhood Obesity Through Studies

The National Institutes of Health is launching two major research efforts, totaling $72.5 million, to examine ways to curtail the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. One will study long-term approaches to prevent or treat childhood obesity, and the other will examine community efforts to reduce childhood obesity rates.

The two obesity prevention trials will develop and test approaches that target home, community, and primary care settings for preschool children living in low income and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. The two obesity treatment trials will examine obesity therapies on overweight and obese children 7 to 14 years old in school and home settings in collaboration with local youth organizations.

http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2010/nhlbi-09.htm

State and Federal Legislation (login required)
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Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service.


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