Not a moment too soon the House passed The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act just two days ago after it passed the Senate in August. This is long overdo as far as I'm concerned and just before the holiday season, it puts school nutrition and our kids on the front burner again. That's not to say that disconcerting compromises didn't make for a less than perfect bill, but getting the bill passed is still a victory for kids faced with unhealthy lunches and pangs of unnecessary hunger across the nation. The House passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act Thursday. Though the bill isn't everything that it could be, especially in terms of funding, it's certainly a step in the right direction. The bill seemed to be going no where until 1,350 organizations ranging from Feeding America to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to Slow Food USA joined together in a letter to the House of Representatives pleading that we stop putting kids in the middle of partisan politics and get the bill passed, according to Civil Eats.
The bill allocates $4.5 billion for school lunches, an increase of about 6 cents per child. The bill has already been paid for through monies restructured from the food stamp program. It also establishes local wellness policies in schools, which includes standards for nutrition education, physical activity, nutrition guidelines, and a periodic review of wellness policy. Nutritional guidelines will include a focus on vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy, and whole grains with a new emphasis on local sourcing.
The bill passed by a vote of 264 to 157 with 247 Democrats and 17 Republicans voting for the bill. According to the New York Times, the most contentious provision of the bill regulates prices for lunches served to children with family incomes more than $40,793 a year for a family of four.
Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, who is co-chairman of the House Hunger Caucus, had this to say:
Hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. Highly processed, empty-calorie foods are less expensive than fresh nutritious foods.
More on School Nutrition
Illinois Teacher Pledges To Eat School Lunches Everyday in 2010
80,000 Baltimore Students Adopt Meatless Mondays, Why Not You?
Getting School Nutrition on the Front Burner Again