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Philly's Universal Feeding Program: Saved!

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 16:01:44 PM PDT

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A little over a week ago, I wrote on that day's sampler platter:

The USDA is cutting off Philadelphia's "Universal Feeding" school lunch program. The program waives the requirement of filling out paperwork and automatically guarantees free school breakfasts and lunches to children at schools in poor areas. Compared to schools that require paperwork to qualify children for meals, Philly's schools boast nearly twice the participation rate. Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton said it was unfair for kids in Philly to get free food without extending that to children nationwide. Well... why not extend this program to schools in poor areas nationwide then??

As this news broke, PA Representatives Fattah and Sestak and PA Senator Casey met with Tom Vilsack to oppose the USDA's decision. Sestak said at the time he was drafting legislation to continue Philly's Universal Feeding and to extend the program to other cities.

Today, we've got good news! Philly's Universal Feeding Program is saved! And not only that, but we can expect to see legislation from Fattah as well as Sestak to expand the program nationally. Fantastic!

UPDATE: Arlen Specter just introduced this bill that would continue the program through the 2012/2013 school year.

Jill Richardson :: Philly's Universal Feeding Program: Saved!
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Don't get too excited about "participation" in these school lunch programs (0.00 / 0)
Re-upping this Philadelphia program is not necessarily good news. School boards across the country are highly motivated to get the largest numbers possible in federally sponsored school lunch programs. The motivation has less to do with feeding children healthy meals than it does their ability get more federal funds. The "formula" for many Dept. of Education funds is directly tied to the number of "qualified" free lunches served. As a result, the numbers are routinely padded (at best). This Philadelphia program sounds like the newest way to get the feds to go along with any numbers they want to submit. Local is better - any way you slice it. Parental and public participation remains the best way to get healthy meals in school cafeterias, not federal programs. Big government (i.e., big brother) is NOT your friend.  

"Big government (i.e., big brother) is NOT your friend." (4.00 / 2)
Hmmmm, Social Security, Medicare, I think big gov is a very good friend.

[ Parent ]
given a choice (4.00 / 2)
between crap food, no food, or cluster bombs, which would you choose for the Federal Government to spend money on?

Yankee Frugality: use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it's a choice (4.00 / 2)
I think they frequently give us all three at once, or at least two out of three (with cluster bombs ALWAYS being one of them).

Vote for yourself at!

[ Parent ]
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