Tag Archives: hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation

Tweet For Child Nutrition

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 expires September 30, next week! This provides crucial funding for School Breakfast ProgramsWIC (Women Infants & Children), CACFP (Child & Adult Care Food Program) & Summer Food Service Programs. Additionally, it allows hungry children & working families easier access to existing School Lunch Programs & even Farmer’s Markets. More information about specifics can be found here.

It’s more important than ever that you express your support for H.R.1324 (House Bill) & S.934 (Senate Bill), The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009. We’ve shown you how to advocate (speak out) for hungry kids through letters, emails & phone calls andsteered you towards online petitions. Now there’s another way – Twitter.

Twitter is a perfect advocacy tool. It allows any user direct access to their representatives (more and more of whom are joining everyday – see Tweet Congress for a full list), and, with 140-character messages and grouping via hashtags (#), it’s easier for representatives and their aides to hear constituents and track support.

Here’s an example we featured on our Twitter @StopHunger yesterday:

Rep @BuckMcKeon please support H.R.1324. Child Nutrition Authorization expires next week! #hr1324

(Not to single out Rep. McKeon, but he’s a local representative & a member of the House’s Committee on Education & Labor)

Now it’s your turn:

  • Sign up for Twitter (if you haven’t already).
  • Go to Tweet Congress. Find your reps using their zip code search.
  • Address your rep directly using @
  • Ask them to support H.R.1324, The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act (if they’re in the House) or S.934, The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act (if they’re in the Senate)
  • If you have characters to spare, ask your followers to RT (retweet) or include the hashtags #hr1324 or #s934 so we can track your support.

There are currently 15 million hungry children in the United States. Tweeting your support takes a couple minutes, but means the world to them.

Thanks for all you do. For more ways to help on Twitter, follow MAZON (@StopHunger) and Twitter For Food (@HungerNoMore).

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TAKE ACTION: Help Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs

Child Nutrition is very important to us at MAZON. We’ve been increasing awareness all summer under the banner “Hunger Doesn’t Take A Summer Vacation”. Our website features information about The Child Nutrition and Reauthorization Act of 2004, set to expire September 30, and many of our donors and partners have responded with advocacy, writing and calling their legislators in support of Summer Food Service programs, School Lunch & Breakfast Programs, WIC (Women, Infants & Children) and other programs that help feed hungry kids. If you don’t know what advocacy is, or how to do it, we published a great primer on this blog. Advocacy is easy!

Here’s another great way to help – in 30 seconds or less.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a petition here. Signing it lends support to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition Network, which requires dedicated funding for supporting healthy eating, school nutrition & exercise programs across the country. Entering your name, address & email also sends a copy of the petition to your representatives in Congress & the Senate. If you’d like to add your own spin or personal story (you should!), you can add to the letter before it goes out.

For more ways to help, Take Action at our website and stay informed with our monthly Advocacy Alert emails. You can also follow us on Facebook & Twitter (@StopHunger) for up-to-the-minute information on how to help hungry families & children. Please also consider donating to support our efforts across the nation and around the world. We can end childhood hunger together. We must!

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Rep. Cynthia Davis on The Colbert Report

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag – Cynthia Davis & Fox News
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Jeff Goldblum

Stephen Colbert lampooned Rep. Cynthia Davis of “hunger is a positive motivator” infamy on The Colbert Report. He was decidedly less kind than we were.

I emailed an edited version of our blog entry to Rep. Davis and have received no reply. Since then, she has appeared on Missouri radio station KMOX and written another “Capitol Report” newsletter defending her opinion that the Summer Food Service Program is unnecessary. She insists the program takes power away from families to feed their children, without realizing how these programs helps families who cannot feed their children. We invite anyone (particularly a fellow Missourian) whose family has benefited from the Summer Food Service Program to email your story to Rep. Davis at cynthia.davis@house.mo.gov. But please, be civil – we all need to work together to end childhood hunger, and Rep. Davis is naturally on the defensive after having been labeled “The Worst Person in the World” by Keith Olbermann.

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TAKE ACTION: Tell Rep. Cynthia Davis to Support the Summer Food Service Program in Missouri

“Hunger can be a positive motivator.”

This shocking statement came from Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis’ June 2009 “Capitol Report” as part of her argument against the Summer Food Service Program. Rep. Davis is Chair of the Missouri House of Representative’s Special Committee on Children and Families, Interim Committee on Poverty & serves on the Health Care Policy Committee, making her a key figure in promoting child health & nutrition in the state.

Rep. Davis has the right idea in promoting farmer’s markets and locally grown, organic produce. These are fantastic programs that allow wider access to healthy foods & sustainability within local farming communities. She also supports educating families on how to prepare healthier meals – which MAZON grantees in the state implement via the Club F.U.N. (Ozarks Food Harvest, Springfield, MO) & The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry (Jewish Family & Children’s Services, St. Louis, MO) programs. Unfortunately, there are thousands of working Missourian families who cannot afford to shop at farmer’s markets or eat healthy. Rep. Davis is lucky “not to [have] seen this problem in [her] district” (her 19th district encompassing St. Charles County, the wealthiest in the state), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Rep. Davis strongly believes in private food banks & pantries versus public programs, like “what they did when Louisiana had [Hurricane Katrina]”. A charity support system is being stretched to a breaking point in this tough economic climate; Missouri Food Banks such as Ozarks Food Harvest find their donations decrease as demand increases. As President Obama said earlier this year, food banks across the nation “don’t have enough to meet the demand”. The Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank is able to reach over 41,000 people a month, but over 310,000 households in Missouri are food insecure, with another 118,000 classified as very low food secure (Food Resource Action Center’s State of the States 2008). While these numbers are sobering, the experiences of these hungry Missourians are downright heartbreaking; I encourage you to read these here. These are households at or below the poverty line ($22,050/yr for a family of four), where it becomes a decision between buying healthy food or life-saving medicine; greens for dinner or gas to get to work.

Children are the most vulnerable to this food insecurity. If kids can’t eat, they can’t learn and they can’t grow. Nearly 18% of Missourian children live in poverty (Food Resource Action Center’s State of the States 2008). For many of these children, school breakfasts & lunches are main, not supplemental, sources of nutrition; it isn’t that poor & working parents don’t want to provide nutritious meals, it’s that they can’t afford to. Ozarks Food Harvest and other Food Banks recognize this need through backpack programs so kids can continue to eat over the weekend when they can’t access school programs. Although school may be out for summer, hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation & the Summer Food Service Program is a vital extensions of existing programs. Yet, while over half a million children participate in the National School Lunch Program in Missouri, fewer than 50,000 participate in the Summer Food Service Program.

Beyond the immeasurable loss in child welfare, this lack of participation costs Missouri millions in federal aid. If just 40% of Missouri’s eligible children participate in the Summer Food Service Program, it would net the state an additional $4 million in federal money (Food Resource Action Center’s State of the States 2008). Otherwise, it all has to come from Missouri’s already strained pockets.

Please, Rep. Davis, support healthy kids & working families. Support the Summer Food Service Program in Missouri.

Missouri State Representative Cynthia Davis can be reached via e-mail at cynthia.davis@house.mo.gov, via phone at 573-751-9768, via fax at 573-526-1243, or via mail at 201 West Capitol Ave. Room 112, Jefferson City, MO 65101. Please be respectful, and identify yourself as a constituent (if you are one). If you’re at a loss for words, feel free to copy & paste any part of this article (that’s what I plan on doing ;)).

(Thanks to Twitter user reeniecollins for pointing us towards Joel Berg of New York City Coalition Against Hunger‘s article about Rep. Davis in the Huffington Post.)

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