You’ve probably heard about our Totes of Hope-Children program. So many of the kids we serve had very little to eat over the weekend when after school programs and clubs were closed. Mom or Dad often work multiple jobs and these kids were coming to school Monday morning, hungry and undernourished. Thus the Totes of Hope program was born, delivering backpacks of food that kids can take home on Friday, providing not only nutrition, but also peace of mind over the weekend.
Our friends at Feeding America just sent along an email, announcing some potentially very exciting news for weekend childhood hunger in America. Caryn Long, Senior Policy Counsel at Feeding America in Washington DC explained that the U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Weekends Without Hunger Act on December 8. The act was introduced earlier this spring by Dina Titus of Nevada and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
The bill would authorize a five-year pilot program funded with 10 million dollars for the USDA to apply toward weekend feeding programs in America. The USDA would provide commodities to programs serving low income kids – 50 percent or more of the kids in the program must be enrolled in free or reduced-price school lunches for the program to qualify for the funding. Currently, Food Bank of the Rockies’ Totes of Hope program is privately funded, as are many backpack programs around the country. This would enable us to expand our reach to more kids in need in low income areas of our service area.
The challenge….the bill has passed the House and will now go to the Senate. If the Senate passes the bill, the pilot program will be authorized. If the bill fails to pass before the Senate adjourns, we will need to start from the beginning with the 112th Congress in January.
How YOU can help…tell your Senator to pass the Weekends Without Hunger Act. Call both of your senators and deliver this message:
“As my Senator, there is a very important way you can help the hungry before Congress adjourns for the year. Please pass the Weekends Without Hunger Act (HR 5012). Thank you.”
Bennet, Michael F. – (D – CO)
702 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Udall, Mark – (D – CO)
317 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Collectively, we can make this happen!