Summer Help For Hungry Children
The federal 'Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act' expires this fall.
Monday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Foodlink in Rochester.
She says the expiration puts at risk programs that are often the only chance for children to get a healthy meal - at school, and during the summer.
"A lot of kids rely on their school lunch as their only nutritious meal of the day. So we want to make sure that nutrition can reach more kids during the summer when they're not coming to school."
Gillibrand says more than 8300 children in Monroe County ate daily lunches during the summer, but that's a small portion of the more than 51,000 children helped by free or reduced price lunches during the school year.
Senator Gillibrand says that shows many children go hungry when school’s closed.
Her legislation would extend the program’s life and reach.
"So our bill creates more opportunities to get it into rural areas as well as the cities, as well as increasing the number of people who are actually eligible."
She also wants to extend quality standards.
"We want to make sure the standards are there so the food is still high quality, whole foods, fruits and vegetables. I'm optimistic that we should be able to come together and pass this legislation."
She said it breaks her heart to hear about children going to bed hungry at night. In Rochester, you can call 211 to get help finding food.
"As a mom, you can't imagine what it must be like if your child goes to bed hungry. So I hope these stories resonate and that we can come together and pass meaningful legislation to make sure these kids get nutritious food."
The proposed legislation would make another 3800 Monroe County children eligible for meals during the summer.