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Nearly 300,000 children in Washington live in families that struggle to put nutritious food on the table every day. The issues these children face can be complex; the solution to their hunger is not: Feed children three nutritious meals each and every day.
This is the simple foundation of our strategic plan to end childhood hunger in Washington.
One step in the plan is to feed hungry kids during the summer. Currently in Washington State only 11% of children who receive free and reduced cost meals during the school year are accessing free summer meal programs. A small investment of state resources to increase summer meal sites will bring millions in federal dollars to feed kids in local communities.
What happens in the summertime to children who receive free or reduced-price school meals during the school year? Nationally, parents report that family food expenses increase by more than $300 per month when kids are not in school. For many low-income families, there simply isn’t enough stretch in the family budget to accommodate the increase. Summertime hunger contributes to summer learning loss; students who’ve experience hunger in the summer struggle to keep up in the fall.
Seattle mom Dara Craven knows about summertime hunger firsthand. Dara, a Children’s Alliance member and child advocate, has struggled to provide healthy food for her two children during the summer months. Through a combination of growing a kitchen garden, using food banks and stretching her resources, Dara has managed to support her children. But she knows things can be better—that’s why she supports Senator Patty Murray’s Stop Child Summer Hunger Act, which would provide added resources for families with children during the summer months.
Eight school districts across Washington state have earned honors for serving more students the first meal of the day: breakfast.
We at the Children’s Alliance partnered with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and the Washington State Dairy Council to recognize the school districts with gold, silver and bronze awards and cash prizes of $500-$1,500.
Gov. Jay Inslee has announced that he’ll protect Washington families from new, harmful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).
The Governor will adjust the state’s utility-assistance payments to certain eligible households from $1 to $20.01, ensuring that thousands of families get the food assistance they need to feed their children.
Today’s release of the KIDS COUNT® policy report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, unveils the new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. The data can better inform policymakers who create policies and programs that can benefit all children, while targeting strategies and investments where attention is needed most.
Seventy-one community based organizations from across the state have joined together to call for full restoration of State Food Assistance for our children, elders, and families. Read their letter to the Washington State Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee.
A reduction in State Food Assistance in 2012 put nearly 14,000 children in immigrant families at greater risk of hunger. This session, we ask lawmakers to add $4.6 million to State Food Assistance to restore full benefits for the 2014-15 budget. Read more.