Today, the U.S. Congress Education and the Workforce Committee is holding its long-awaited first hearing on reauthorizing child nutrition programs. Such programs support the approximately one in five U.S. households with children who live with food insecurity, helping guarantee children receive adequate nutrition even if their families are struggling to get by, making impossible trade-offs between paying rent, paying utilities or paying for healthy food.
At the hearing, members of Congress and expert witnesses will discuss the programs whose governing laws are up for reauthorization—among them, the school lunch and school breakfast programs and WIC (which provides nutritious food access for low-income pregnant women and mothers of young children). It’s an opportunity to assess what’s working in these programs, and to make changes in them.
The four witnesses at today’s hearing are eminent individuals who are undoubtedly knowledgeable about issues affecting children’s nutrition. But they are not low-income parents who use child nutrition programs to support their children’s health every day.
And moms who take part in child nutrition programs, and whose kids do, know best, in the view of Witnesses to Hunger. Witnesses to Hunger are mothers and other caregivers of young children who are true experts on hunger and poverty because they have experienced it firsthand. Witnesses began as a research program in the Center for Hunger-Free Communities in Drexel’s School of Public Health and has evolved into a powerful advocacy platform for these women and men themselves to speak on the issues most important to them. Witnesses to Hunger use cameras and their own voices to show how the world truly is and how the world should be for families.
Next week, members of Witnesses to Hunger will share their recommendations for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization. The Witnesses have taken their expertise and created a short, potent and photo-rich book that highlights what works, what doesn’t and how child nutrition programs can be improved.
Witnesses will deliver copies of their book to all members of Congress later this week. On Monday, April 20, they will host a briefing on Capitol Hill to share their book with interested attendees and hold a discussion on ways to improve the health and nutrition of all children.
Their next goal: Could Witnesses to Hunger, or people with firsthand experience with policies and programs affecting low-income families, be invited to speak as official witnesses during this reauthorization process?
Congressional Briefing Details
WHEN: April 20, 2015 3 – 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: Cannon House Office Building, Room 122
WHO: Members of Witnesses to Hunger will speak about their experiences. They will be introduced and moderated by Mariana Chilton, PhD, associate professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, founder of Witnesses to Hunger, co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Hunger
The Witnesses to Hunger book about Child Nutrition Authorization will be available electronically from the Center for Hunger-Free Communities website on April 20.
Members of the media interested in interviewing Chilton, or seeking more information about Witnesses to Hunger, should contact Rachel Ewing, email@example.com or 215.895.2614.