Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Three New Reports Focus Attention on Child Hunger

Three national organizations released reports focused on child hunger today, detailing the extent, economic costs, and potential solutions to the problem. Texas has the highest rate of child hunger of all states, according to Census data, with one in five children facing food insecurity.

Feeding America, the national network of food banks, released a report detailing the costs of child hunger to the economy. Arguing that the direct and indirect effect of child hunger in the U.S. is a contributing factor to the nation’s economic woes and puts America at a competitive disadvantage, the paper articulates the lifelong consequences child food insecurity has on individuals and families.

“While one in five Texas children remain at risk of hunger, a significant portion of Texans will face lowered academic achievement, reduced productivity, and escalating health care costs for years to come,” said Texas Food Bank Network State Director Barbara Anderson. “This will hinder economic growth and affect all Texans, not just the neediest.”

Two other reports were also released today. One, from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) contained a blueprint for achieving President Obama’s campaign goal of ending domestic child hunger by 2015. The other, a report by the California Food Policy Advocates, details that state’s experience with the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which also provides meals in Texas, as a well as a national perspective on the importance of SFSP.

The FRAC report boldly calls on the nation to end childhood hunger through a mix of economic growth focused on lower-income workers, strengthening proven anti-hunger programs, and making sure all families have convenient access to reasonably priced, healthy food. The Federal Child Nutrition Programs central to this strategy will be reauthorized by Congress this year.

The Texas Food Bank Network, whose members serve every Texas county, estimated serving over 900,000 hungry children in the last year.

“As long as there are hungry children in Texas, our state will not be able to achieve its full potential,” said Texas Food Bank Network Policy Coordinator JC Dwyer. “These reports show us the terrible consequences of continuing to allow this problem to exist, but also provide us a way to stop it. With the help of Congress and state and local leaders, we can end child hunger in Texas.”

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