The Sept. 18 editorial “School lunch food fight,” and the Sept. 14 Focus feature “Feds defend school lunches as some object” rightly call attention to the importance of keeping higher nutrition standards for school lunches. However, the congressional review of the Child Nutrition Act also included vital guidelines for many child nutrition programs including the Summer Feeding programs.
Now that school is in session, it is easy to forget that many North Carolina schoolchildren, who depend on school breakfast and lunch programs, went without those meals during the summer. In North Carolina only 17 percent of the 800,000 children eligible for summer food service received a nutritious meal during the summer.
As many as 75 percent of the people we serve through our food bank network report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food to make ends meet. This forced compromise in eating choices means that many low-income children actually put on weight in the summer.
Streamlining regulations for summer and after school meals would allow the private sector to reach and feed more children. Congress also should create a summer EBT program to help families buy food when school is out.
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Feeding children healthy food is of high importance. Making sure they are able to eat at all deserves just as much effort.
Executive Director, N.C. Association of Feeding America Food Banks