This coming National School Lunch Week, Oct. 14-18, let’s think outside the box and realize we have the power to end child hunger. We can start by making sure every child in the world receives school meals. This can be achieved with enough political will.
In the United States, free lunch programs help impoverished children. But let’s expand after-school and weekend food programs so all needy children receive nutrition when class is out. This is a public health issue because lack of food leaves these children at risk of illness and poor development.
Every summer, when schools close, many children lose access to the free lunches. We can solve this by increasing summer feeding programs with the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019. Sen. Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, one of the bill co-sponsors, says, “Children should have access to nutritious meals all year-round, not just during the school year.”
The bill would expand mobile food trucks, backpack programs and EBT grocery cards for children. The goal is to reach impoverished families year-round.
We should remember this with our foreign policy too. It sounds simple. But yet so many children around the world don’t get school meals.
The United States should expand our McGovern-Dole international school meals program, a USDA initiative that feeds hungry school children in impoverished countries. But it only receives about $200 million a year in funding. In comparison, nuclear weapons spending in the United States exceeds $20 billion a year.
School meals for every child in the world would help end hunger and improve the health and education for a whole generation.
William Lambers, co-author, ”Ending World Hunger,” Cincinnati, Ohio