Seattle Times: How to end child hunger — permanently – MORE HERE
ICYMI: Senator Murray Introduces Sweeping Legislation to Ensure Kids Don’t Go Hungry When School is Out – MORE HERE
Senator Murray: “Part of building our country back better and stronger is ensuring kids don’t go hungry. We’re closer than ever to making that a reality, and as chair of the senate education committee, I won’t stop fighting until we do.”
***WATCH VIDEO OF THE EVENT HERE***
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the chair of the Senate education committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined national and local leaders on childhood nutrition from across Washington state to discuss the demonstrated need for expanded child nutrition programs in Washington state and the effectiveness of President Biden’s decision to extend the pandemic electronic benefit transfers (EBT) program through the remainder of the year during a video press call.
Senator Murray was joined by Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services; Matt Ryan, Northwest Harvest’s Hunger Response Network Specialist for Eastern Washington; Gordon McHenry, Jr., United Way of King County’s CEO; Trevor Greene, Yakima Public Schools’ Superintendent; and Alan Hamilton, Clark County Food Bank’s President.
As Senate Democrats are crafting the Build Back Better Budget, Senator Murray is fighting to include provisions from her Stop Child Hunger Act in the legislation to help prevent Washington state students who rely on school meals from going hungry.
“With students heading back to school, it’s impossible to ignore an issue that so many kids face every year—which is child hunger,” said Senator Murray. “No kid should have to go hungry, it’s really as simple as that. It’s a moral question but it’s also good for everyone when our children do well—kids need healthy meals to succeed and live up to their full potential, we know this. Part of building our country back better and stronger is ensuring kids don’t go hungry. We’re closer than ever to making that a reality—I won’t stop fighting until we do.”
During the call, Senator Murray highlighted provisions in the Build Back Better budget that she is pushing to get into the final legislative package that would provide families with children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals with an EBT card when school is not in session during Summer months, this provision is modeled after Senator Murray’s more expansive Stop Child Hunger Act.
Senator Murray, a former preschool teacher, has been a leading advocate for kids and families in the United States Senate, especially during the pandemic, carrying legislation to stop child hunger every Congress since 2014 with the introduction of her Stop Child Summer Hunger Act. As COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on the failures of the existing system to meet the needs of kids as it relates to nutrition, Senator Murray’s legislation is more vital, and closer to passing, than ever. Having relied on food stamps for a brief time during her childhood, Senator Murray knows firsthand the difference a helping hand can make in the lives children.
“President Biden has said we must act boldly now to build a better tomorrow,” noted USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Stacy Dean. “We applaud Chairwoman Murray’s leadership in seeking to make Summer EBT a permanent, national program, as reflected in the American Families Plan.”
“Research continues to show the efficacy of these programs. The food insecurity rate and poverty rate are still unacceptably high, and these programs are crucial to decreasing those percentages. We know what lowering child hunger can do. It improves educational outcomes across the board, which opens new opportunities, and starts getting at the root causes of inequity. We urge Congress to support the House Build Back Better Act: it is the best way forward with critical investments in child nutrition and other supports that can help families build pathways out of poverty,” said Matt Ryan, Northwest Harvest’s Hunger Response Network Specialist for Eastern Washington.
“The health and economic impacts of the pandemic have increased financial instability and food insecurity, and have disproportionately impacted, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, or BIPOC, communities. The good news is that the newly released Census data shows that federal safety net programs are highly effective at reducing food insecurity. So now is the time for our nation to step up and do more to make sure that no child, no kid is hungry,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., United Way of King County’s CEO.
“We are judged, as a society, by how we tend to the most challenged among us; and an investment in childhood nutrition, including increased access, improves all aspects of family life by eliminating worry and concern for the most basic physical need, thereby leading to a more successful start to each day,” said Trevor Greene, Yakima Public Schools’ Superintendent.
“Childhood hunger is not just a COVID problem. It’s an everyday problem that needs everyday solutions. Getting food without homes to homes without food is what the food bank network and SNAP/EBT resources makes possible. These families and kids are worth that investment,” said Alan Hamilton, Clark County Food Bank’s President.
Following Senator Murray’s advocacy on this issue, President Biden used funding from Democrats’ American Families Plan to make a similar investment to Senator Murray’s bill, temporarily expanding pandemic electronic benefit transfers.