Mainers ask Rep. Poliquin to support child nutrition programs
Members of the Maine People’s Alliance visited the offices of Representative Bruce Poliquin in Bangor today to deliver messages in support of congressional reauthorization of a set of important child nutrition programs.
Most of the attention in Congress since the return from recess earlier this month has been on maneuvering on the Iran deal and the prospect of another government shutdown, but there’s another deadline looming at the end of the month. Every five years, Congress must vote to reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (also known as the Child Nutrition Act). At risk are programs that provide school lunches to children in poverty as well as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
WIC (which serves low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants and children under the age of five) and the other programs are very popular, but may get caught up in the political maneuvering on the federal budget. Funding for the programs is provided through the Department of Agriculture.
“These are vital services that millions of women and children depend on each year. Without them, especially the summer meals programs, many kids would have to go without food,” said Maine People’s Alliance Bangor-area organizer Sam Portera. “That’s why we need Congressman Poliquin to support this program both with his vote and his voice, by publicly calling for these lifelines to be protected and expanded.”
The activists delivered empty dinner plates with written messages to Poliquin’s office to represent the missed meals that would result from failing to reauthorize the programs.
The issue of child nutrition is especially important for Maine, where one in four children under the age of five is now considered food insecure. Childhood poverty has increased in Maine in recent years, from 16% of children in 2008 to 18% in 2013, according to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
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