Congresswoman Calls For Reauthorization Of Programs That Combat Hunger

NJ.com — Thursday, August 20, 2015

By Brielle Urciuoli | For NJ.com

TRENTON — Nearly 10,000 Trenton children receive free or reduced-cost lunch throughout the school year. But in the summer months, the number drops to about 1,500.

"The summer is a dangerous time for lower income and food insecure children," Ann Vardeman, program director of New Jersey Citizen Action said Wednesday while taking U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12th Dist.) and other officials on a tour of the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County, which feeds hundreds of hungry children every day through its summer programs.

"This is a really serious issue here," Watson Coleman said. "We are confronted with a lot of reauthorization needs here, but none are as important as feeding our kids."

Surrounded by agreeing Trenton officials and anti-hunger advocates, Watson Coleman said it's imperative that Congress fully reauthorize the Child Nutrition and WIC Act this September.

Standing with Watson Coleman were the New Jersey Citizen Action, Advocates for Children of N.J., Anti-Poverty Network of N.J. and the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County,

The act, which is approaching its expiration date, authorizes all federal nutrition programs for children — from Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) to school meals. Watson called the reauthorization non-partisan and a "no-brainer".

Two additional pending pieces of legislation, the Summer Meals Act of 2015 and the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015, will also be discussed this fall and can potentially increase the amount of children eligible to receive summertime food assistance programs, Watson Coleman said.

"They deserve better," Watson Coleman said of the children. "They expect better."

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