Congress should maintain school lunch programs

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — It’s called the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016.”

But as revised by a House of Representative’s committee last week, that is not what this bill to reauthorize federal child nutrition programs would do.

Amendments curb some of the nutrition standards that would increase the whole grains being served in school meals and gradually reduce the sodium content. Changes also would gut the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, but the proposal that would be felt most in our region is a move to make it more difficult for schools to feed low-income students.

The Community Eligibility Program began in 2010, allowing schools with a large number of at-risk students to offer free meal programs without collecting applications from all the students. Currently schools meet the standard if 40 percent of their students already automatically qualify for free school meals. That would be because they are already enrolled in programs such as food stamps or Head Start or they are homeless or have other hardships.

The revised bill would raise that threshold to 60 percent…

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