Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson: “We will not stop until we know that every child is fed.”
On Wednesday, November 9th the Texas Hunger Initiative hosted a “No Kid Hungry Dallas Summit,” in partnership with Share our Strength, USDA, The Christian Life Commission, CitySquare, and Feed3 all the Dallas Farmer’s Market.
|"Next Steps" - a Q&A panel on hunger solutions|
“Texas leads in many things, but hunger in children should not be one of them” said Johnson. Currently Texas is one of the top 5 states in childhood food insecurity and hunger in children means more than poor nutrition. There are many established links between hunger and poor academic performance, behavior issues, and absenteeism. “Simply put, hungry kids can’t learn,” said Bill Ludwig, Regional Administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture. Almost 100% of Texas schools offer free breakfast to eligible students, but only half of those students actually get the meal. Many students miss out because school buses run late or they fear the social stigma attached to eating the free meal. Ludwig advocated for the Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) program, a model that allows to students to eat breakfast in the first 15 minutes of their day in the classroom. "Once we started breakfast in the classroom teachers stopped constantly hearing the phrase "when's lunch" noted Dora Rivas, food services director for Dallas ISD, “and BIC has cut down on behavior issues and nurse visits.”
|Melissa Roy,SOS Director of |
State Partnerships and Jeremy
Everett, Director of THI
The summit also discussed hunger in adults. Currently only 50% of eligible Texas residents receive SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits, a well funded program. "Hunger is not a resource issue. We just need a model to get the resources to those who need it," said Jeremy Everett, director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, “We have hunger for 3 reasons - lack of infrastructure, lack of collaboration, and lack of accountability.” SNAP has an economic stimulator effect as well. Research shows that for every $1 of SNAP benefits spent, $1.87 in economic returns is generated.
It is the hope of the participants and sponsors of the hunger summit to begin more intentional collaboration between private and public programs and individuals and organizations. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, surveying the room of hunger advocates, commented "We have too many well meaning people in our town to let hunger like this happen.”
A list of highlights from the hunger summit can be found on our twitter feed.