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Congresswoman Wilson Votes to Address and Prevent Child Hunger

Miami, Fla. – Today, the Education and Labor Committee held a markup hearing to discuss the newly-filed Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, legislation which works to address and prevent child hunger by reauthorizing federal child nutrition programs. Voting to advance the proposal, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24) applauded the inclusion of a key provision that expands access and plant-based options like salad bars in public schools which she championed last year.

“When children are hungry, they cannot learn, making it harder for them to focus. Unfortunately, for too many kids, school meals are the only meals they can regularly count on. Today, 850,000 children in Florida suffer from food insecurity at the hands of failed Republican leadership and Governor Ron DeSantis,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “I am proud to support the resources needed to feed our kids and give them every tool to succeed and grow, both inside and outside the classroom and to deliver on a long-standing commitment of mine to ensure children have access to more plant-based options as part of their school meals—especially salad bars!”

Congresswoman Wilson’s full committee remarks can be found here.

The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act builds on Congressional Democrats’ work to expand school and summer meal programs, increase access to federal nutrition programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and prevent and address child hunger. The proposed legislation includes parts of Congresswoman Wilson’s H.R. 4344, Salad Bars in Schools Expansion Act, and authorizes $175 Million over five years to improve our school kitchen infrastructure, serve healthy meals and encourage salad bars in school meal programs.

Even before the pandemic, more than 2.7 million households with children—did not have reliable access to nutritious food. Moreover, the pandemic worsened pre-existing inequities in food insecurity. Both Black and Hispanic households with children reported food insecurity at rates roughly twice that of white households with children throughout the pandemic. 

The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act would help address both pre-existing inequities, as well as food insecurity spurred by the pandemic. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Expand access to school meals,
  • Preserve the future of school meal programs,
  • Modernize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC),
  • Address food insecurity during the summer,
  • Improve school meal capacity and sustainability, and 
  • Strengthen the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Read the fact sheet for the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act here.