DECEMBER 15, 2011
The U.S. government is celebrating the first anniversary of Michelle Obama’s multi-billion-dollar law to end childhood hunger in low-income neighborhoods by bragging that the measure has made it easier to get public assistance.
Promoted as a way to end childhood hunger among the poor, the First Lady got Congress to pass the $4.5 billion Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. Her husband signed it and the taxpayer dollars soon began to flow into programs that promise to revolutionize the inner-city diet by providing fresh produce and grilled lean meats as alternatives to greasy, fried foods that tend to be more popular in the so-called “food deserts.”
Under the law poor and “at-risk” children around the country are getting free nutritious meals from U.S. taxpayers and the government has the power to decide what exactly constitutes healthy cuisine. The measure is also supposed to help communities establish local farm to school networks, create school gardens, and ensure that more local foods are used in schools. The idea is to slash greasy foods and extra calories by letting the government regulate what can be consumed on school grounds, including vending machines and at fundraisers.
One year and millions of dollars later the measure is on track to meet the First Lady’s long term goals, according to an announcement marking the first anniversary. Among the accomplishments of this “historic” law to combat child hunger and obesity is a “nationwide expansion of at-risk after school meals.” This expansion could provide “supper” to an additional 140,000 kids in low-income areas, according to the agency running the program, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Another accomplishment is the implementation of a nationwide system to facilitate the eligibility process so that it’s easier for schools and family day care centers to get money from the federal government. That means tax dollars will flow more quickly and with less scrutiny, all in the name of improving the American diet in low-income neighborhoods.
The USDA expects that key accomplishments for the coming year will include implementation of “performance-based reimbursement” and a program that automatically certifies new recipients by using Medicaid data. A separate “community eligibility” project will also increase the rolls
by expanding the states that participate in the government’s nutrition plan.
“The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is vital to the health and welfare of our kids, helping them build the healthy futures they deserve,” said Michelle Obama. “We’ve seen the connection between what our kids eat and how well they perform in school. And we know that America’s success in the 21st century means having the best-prepared and best-educated workforce around. So it is critical that we work to ensure that all children have the basic nutrition they need to learn, grow, and to pursue their dreams. As we celebrate the many accomplishments of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act’s first year, we also pledge to continue taking bold steps forward to advance this goal.”
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