By Cathy Schuchart, SNA Staff Vice President of Government Affairs and Media Relations 2016-08-11 02:19:04
Take Action to Protect School Meals IN MID-MAY, THE HOUSE EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE COMMITTEE APPROVED H.R. 5003, which contains a school meal block grant pilot project. The bill was approved by a 2014 vote; it now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives. In addition to the three-state pilot project, the House bill would restrict school eligibility for CEP, the Community Eligibility Provision, which has been so successful in expanding access to healthy school meals, eliminating school meal stigma for low-income students and helping to preserve the fiscal solvency of school meal programs. It is primarily because of these two provisions that SNA strongly opposes the bill and calls on its members to urge their lawmakers to do the same. SNA President Jean Ronnei, SNS, didn’t mince words in expressing the Association’s dismay. “The block grant pilot is the opening salvo in an aggressive, alarming attack on the future of school meals,” she stated in a press release. Lamenting that school meal programs are already underfunded, she noted, “Block grants threaten to strip these vital programs of critical funds. … America’s students cannot afford to be part of this dangerous experiment.” To learn more about why block grants are so dangerous to the future of your school meal operation, visit http://www.schoolnutrition.org, click on “News & Publications” and then on “Press Releases.” More tools are in development every day. Long-time Association members will recall the mid-Nineties, when a school meal block grant was proposed by House Republicans seeking to eliminate the National School Lunch Program and other child nutrition safety nets. SNA members came together in news-making force to stop this proposition in its tracks. Twenty-one years later, your Association needs each of you to come together once again. What can you do? Remember that Members of Congress— Representatives and Senators—work for you. Reach out and ask them to oppose any effort to block grant school meal programs, including H.R. 5003. Explain why, and ask them to support a bipartisan Reauthorization bill that protects school meal programs instead. The box at left offers specific suggestions for taking action. Remember, you have a voice in the future of the programs that mean so much to so many— let it be heard! Successful Advocacy Starts With YOU! 3 STEPS 1) TAKE ACTION. Sign up on SNA’s online “Take Action” page http://schoolnutrition.org/takeaction to receive Action Alert emails that notify you of critical times to contact your lawmakers. The alerts will link you to a page to send an email to your Senators and Representative. At press time, there is an Action Alert out to send opposing block grants and pass a bipartisan CNR bill. 2) CALL YOUR LAWMAKER. The SNA Action Network features a “Look Up Your Legislators” tool. Simply enter your zip code to find links to the contact information of your Senators and Representative. Call, identify yourself as a constituent and a school nutrition professional and urge the lawmaker to oppose any effort to block grant school meal programs. Explain that they strip away critical funding and threaten student access to healthy school meals. Ask that your legislators stand up for students. 3) SPREAD THE SOCIAL MEDIA WORD. Rally your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, asking them to join you in opposing any effort to block grant school meals. Sample tweets include: “Join me in taking action! Block grants, like #HR5003 pilot, harm students and #school nutrition programs! #CNR2016 http://tinyurl.com/gu7ujm7” or “I oppose #HR5003! Block grants strip under-resourced #schoollunch programs of critical funds. #CNR2016 http://tinyurl.com/gu7ujm7”
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