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Food Programs for Kids and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

Food Programs for kids
Courtesy of Hugo's Dad (via Flickr)

The facts are hard to swallow. But for many children in the U.S., hunger is a reality they must face each day. Fortunately, there are programs to help children and their families get the nutrition education and food they need.

The reality: more than 50 million individuals in the U.S. who struggle to put food on the table. And more than 17 million of those who are affected are children – that’s almost 1 in 4 kids lack the means to get enough nutritious food. So, what’s being done in your community and around the U.S. to help these children?

Here are just 7 ways that different food programs for kids and recent legislation are helping to keep our kids healthy and their tummies full:

  1. There are around 32 million kids receiving low-cost or free school meals, but many kids still go hungry. So, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expands eligibility to this program for another 115,000 children. Keep in mind that for some kids, this meal is the only one they will eat throughout the day.
  2. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act also requires schools to provide healthier foods, like low-fat or healthier meal options as well as items in vending machines.
  3. This Act also provides more support and enhances programs for kids and families, such as WIC, Child and Adult Care Food Program, SNAP and more.
  4. At least 9 million pregnant women and moms participate each month in WIC to help keep themselves and/or their new babies and children healthy. This program offers healthcare, assistance with food, and nutritional guidance for women, infants and children up to age 5.
  5. The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides nutritious meals to more than 3.2 million children in daycare. This makes childcare more affordable for families and helps kids get the nutrition they need.
  6. Nearly 18 million kids depend on food stamps also known as SNAP benefits to put food on their table. SNAP provides food and nutrition information for families with limited income. Did you know? If you’re receiving SNAP benefits, your child automatically qualifies for free school meals. 
  7. If you and your children are in need of food, call 2-1-1 to be connected to a representative who can help you find food resources specifically for children in your area. Many schools also provide bags of food on Fridays, so that their students have meals over the weekend. Ask your child’s principal or school administrator if there is a program at your school.
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