For Immediate Release

VP Pence Repeatedly Cites Child Nutrition as a Top Reason for Re-Opening Schools

Hunger advocates point out that Trump/Pence Administration tried to cut school meals.

Advocates call Pence statements "child hunger chutzpah."

WASHINGTON - In his COVOD-19 briefing today, Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly claimed that one of the top reasons that K-12 schools need to open this fall is to ensure that children get “nutrition.” Yet the Trump/Pence Administration has previously tried to take away half a million school lunches from hungry kids as well as SNAP nutrition benefits for millions of families with children.

In response, Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, said:

“As a hunger expert, I can confirm that the health of many children is harmed when they miss school meals when schools are closed. However, I am neither an epidemiologist nor a virologist, so I am not qualified to weigh when schools should re-open and whether the harm inflicted on children due to missed school meals is greater or less than the public health harm created by children going back to school during a pandemic.

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I am glad Vice President Pence is citing the importance of school meals, but troubled that he might be using them as an excuse to override all other public health concerns. Moreover, I must note that the Trump/Pence Administration has consistently sought to decrease the ability of children to obtain school meals and other federally-funded nutrition assistance. It’s the height of child hunger chutzpah for an administration that has worked to take food away from hungry children to say kids should be sent back to potentially dangerous schools just to avoid hunger. 

If the Trump/Pence Administration really wanted to ensure improved child nutrition—whether or not kids go back to school quickly this fall—it should drop its opposition to the Heroes Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May and which would provide more than $16 billion worth of nutrition assistance to families with children.”

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HUNGER FREE AMERICA (formerly known as the New York City Coalition Against Hunger) is a nonpartisan, national nonprofit group working to enact the policies and programs needed to end domestic hunger and ensure that all Americans have sufficient access to nutritious food.

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