Responding to the continuing economic struggles of many residents of the state, Gov. John Hickenlooper Wednesday signed off on an executive order that continues a program which supplies school meals to children of families in need.
The decision to extend the No Kid Hungry Colorado campaign, said Hickenlooper, is recognition of the effect the current economy and of the importance of nutrition in the education process.
“Many families have been hit hard by the economic downturn,” said Hickenlooper, who made the announcement at an event sponsored by Hunger Free Colorado. “School breakfast programs help ensure children have access to nutritious foods so they can study hard in school, grow strong and lead active lives. The No Kid Hungry Colorado campaign is making certain those who falls on hard times know about these programs and that no child in Colorado goes hungry.”
The executive order continues the No Kid Hungry Colorado program begun by former Gov. Bill Ritter and his Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien in 2009 and originally known as the Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger by 2015. The campaign’s goal is to increase the number of children in the state who receive breakfast and summer lunches in school, as well as construct a comprehensive plan to eradicate childhood hunger by 2015.
Currently, the campaign combines the efforts of the Governor’s office, Hunger Free Colorado and Share Our Strength. A statement from the Governor’s office said the three organizations hope to “removing the roadblocks to existing programs so that Colorado’s children get the food they need.”
According to Hunger Free Colorado, more than 1.5 million children in the state will receive breakfast in school through the Breakfast In The Classroom program.
Hickenlooper’s signing of the executive order comes on the same day as the release of date from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that shows 14.5 percent (17.2 million) of American households were unable to provide regular meals for their families in 2010, and that rate has continued through to this year.
The report from the USDA also showed that in 2010, approximately 16.2 million children – one out of every five – lived in homes that skipped meals, struggled to afford food or subsisted on inadequate diets because of either a lack of money or resources or both.
According to the USDA, 59 percent of those “food-insecure” households in 2010 say they took advantage of one of the three most popular federal food and nutrition assistance programs – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or the National School Meals Program.