During his 2008 presidential campaign, President Obama committed to working to end childhood hunger in America. Four years later, while the economy slowly begins to recover and banks and the auto industry have come back from the brink of collapse, 16 million children are at risk of hunger. Ensuring children in this country have the food they need to live, learn and play is critical if we are to produce a healthy, educated future workforce and keep America’s economy moving forward.
In his first 100 days of this new administration, President Obama has the opportunity to take on issues of poverty and hunger, and to lay the ground work for bold initiatives over the next four years. The inauguration address and State of the Union provide an opportunity to tell the American people why ending childhood hunger is a responsibility shared by the federal and state governments, and the public and private sectors. It is also an opportunity to draw a line in the sand against future cuts to SNAP, formerly known as food stamps – a poverty-relieving program that helps 46 million Americans put food on the table for their children.
The next four years provide a historic opportunity to end childhood hunger in America. We have the systems in place through federal nutrition programs, including school breakfast and school lunch programs, to achieve this goal, but the task will demand leadership from all quarters. The No Kid Hungry campaign represents the essence of the kind of bipartisanship effort President Obama will need if he is to be successful in a still politically divided nation: public-private partnerships, driven by state leaders, with measurable and tangible outcomes. The No Kid Hungry campaign has brought together Republican Governors Bob McDonnell (VA) and Nathan Deal (GA) and Democratic Governors like Martin O’Malley (MD) and Mike Beebe (AR). We work with large corporations, passionate non-profits, teachers, chefs and parents who share our goal of a No Kid Hungry nation.
Immediately after his election in 2008, President Obama directed his Administration to respond to the looming financial crisis by aiding banks, the auto industry, and others in the private sector. His reelection is an opportunity to now focus that support on Americans living in poverty. One in five of our nation’s children is at risk of hunger, and can wait no longer for the government at the federal and state level to do their part.