July 29, 2021

Reps. Castro and Taylor Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Child Hunger

WASHINGTON – Today, United States Congressmen Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) and Van Taylor (R-TX-03) introduced the Feeding Hungry Students in Schools Act of 2021 in the House of Representatives to help combat child hunger throughout the United States. The Feeding Hungry Students in Schools Act would allow schools to set up food pantries by receiving, storing, and distributing food donations from charitable organizations.

“Harworking families across our nation struggle daily to meet their basic food needs. The implications are even graver in Texas, where 1 in 4 children suffer from hunger. This can hinder a child’s development, leading to increased health and behavioral risks.  Many folks will remember the food lines in San Antonio that looked like a packed parking lot during COVID. The Feeding Hungry Students in Schools Act of 2021 will enable San Antonio schools to organize food pantries and support the distribution of nutrition assistance to communities in need,” said Congressman Castro. “This legislation moves us in the right direction towards ending child hunger and help students achieve their fullest potential.”

“Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, child hunger rates skyrocketed, and projections show as many as one in six American children are experiencing food insecurity this year,” said Congressman Taylor. “I’m proud to join my colleague Congressman Joaquin Castro as we work to help our nation’s students focus and thrive in the classroom without being held back by hunger.”

“Millions of kids today face food insecurity, which has an impact on their education, health, and general wellbeing. Working together, schools and community organizations can play a critical role in combatting this hunger,” said Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President, Share Our Strength. “The Feeding Hungry Students in Schools Act gives these groups a new avenue for collaboration and innovation through school food pantries and, as a result, more students will have direct access to the food they need.  We applaud the efforts of Congressmen Castro and Van Taylor in the fight against child hunger.”

“Hungry children can’t focus on school when their stomachs are rumbling.” said Christy Gleason, Vice President of Policy Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children. “We have seen child hunger skyrocket over the past year and a half and access is a significant driver. We applaud Representatives Castro and Taylor for championing this innovative approach, ensuring children have easy access to food at a location most convenient to them – school.”

Background: 

In 2020, one in seven individuals were estimated to have experienced food insecurity, equating to nearly 15 million children. In Texas, over 4 million people struggled with hunger, including 1 in 4 children.  

Low-income families across our nation struggle daily with meeting their basic food needs. Children in these families continue to face food insecurities and lack knowledge of when their next meal is coming. When children face hunger, they are more likely to repeat a grade in school, experience developmental impairments, and have more social and behavioral problems. 

The Feeding Hungry Students in Schools Act of 2021 would address food insecurity for students by allowing schools to receive, store, and distribute food donations from charitable organizations. By amending the Richard B. Russel National School Lunch Act, schools will have the ability to set up a food pantry in their schools. 

Furthermore, providing schools and communities another avenue to address food insecurity for their children. Communities can come together to ensure all children have access to food when school is not in session, which is a time when some students may not have food prepared at home. 

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