• About this Blog

    During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama announced a goal of of ending childhood hunger in America by the year 2015. Since taking office, President Obama, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and other members of the Administration have reiterated that commitment.

    FRAC's 2015 blog covers the latest news and developments of the 2015 initiative at the national and state levels.

  • Report: Ending Childhood Hunger by 2015

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  • Chicago Listening Session Participants Contribute Range of Ideas

    by Madeleine Levin, Senior Policy Analyst, School Breakfast and Lunch Program, Food Research and Action Center.

    One of the first USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) regional listening sessions to solicit feedback on ways to achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of ending childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015 was held September 29th in Chicago. Julie Paradis, FNS Administrator, opened the session. She asked participants for proposals to address ways to end child hunger among all food insecure children, who number more than 12 million.

    Participants at the session included Diane Doherty with the Illinois Hunger Coalition, Frank Kubik with Focus Hope of Michigan, Jon Janowski with the Milwaukee Hunger Task Force, Mora Nees with the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks, and Mary Lou Langenhop with the Children’s Hunger Alliance of Ohio.

    Participants discussed a range of ideas, including:

    • Making additional investments in child nutrition programs;
    • Increasing the minimum wage;
    • Improving refundable tax credits for working families;
    • Retaining and building on recent economic stimulus improvements;
    • Simplifying paperwork for the federal nutrition programs, perhaps with a single application;
    • Convening a White House Conference on Hunger and Nutrition;
    • Increasing funding for afterschool suppers, school breakfast expansion, and summer program outreach and expansion (which can be accomplished through the upcoming Congressional reauthorization); and
    • Involving multiple federal agencies in the 2015 effort – especially the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services as well as USDA.

    People who were unable to attend any of the listening sessions can submit written comments to USDA at ech2015@fns.usda.gov.

    Julie Paradis, FNS/USDA, Invites "As Many As Possible" to Participate in USDA's 2015 Listening Sessions

    One of the most exciting parts of the job for me and others among both the President’s appointees and the career staff here at USDA is figuring how best and most effectively to reach the President’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. At the Food and Nutrition Service we have been holding a series of listening sessions around the country – I was at one of the very first, in Chicago, and found it incredibly helpful. I want to invite as many people as possible to participate in this process – give us your ideas, experience and knowledge of our programs and the needs of your communities.

    There are more than 12 million children in our country in families struggling with hunger, and we need an ambitious set of strategies to help them. Many of those strategies involve the federal nutrition programs, but we need to think beyond the nutrition programs as well. As Melody Barnes, director of the President’s Domestic Policy Council, has said, we need to tackle hunger “from many different directions.” The President’s initial position paper on the 2015 goal mentioned SNAP, school meals, summer food and WIC, but also food banks and tackling poverty through tax relief, raising the minimum wage and providing affordable, accessible health insurance.

    That’s why this effort will involve not only USDA, but the Treasury Department, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and others. And it will involve nonprofits, cities and states, and other stakeholders, as well as the federal government.

    If you have thoughts about how we should go about ending childhood hunger in this country, I encourage you to send them to the e-mail address we have set up for this: ECH2015@fns.usda.gov.

    Together we can reach this goal.

    Julie Paradis is Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.