WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced his support for legislation that would expand existing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) after-school nutrition programs to include Ohio and 39 other states. The After-School Flexibility to Expand Reimbursement for School Meals Act (AFTERSchool Meals Act), introduced by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dick Lugar (R-IN), and cosponsored by Brown, would make institutions eligible for reimbursement for meals provided to at-risk school children during after-school hours.
“It is essential for children to have the proper nutrition they need to thrive in and out of the classroom,” Brown said. “After-school food programs can be an important resource for Ohio families who are struggling to provide for their children. This legislation would expand after-school food programs to every state in the country to invest in the success of Ohio and our nation’s next generation.”
According to the USDA, Ohio has the 15th highest rate of food insecurity in the nation. Food security is defined by the number of individuals who at times during the year were uncertain of having enough food to meet the needs of their family. In 2007, more than 1- in-10 Ohioans reported food insecurity, and 12.4 million children lived in food-insecure households nationwide.
The AFTERSchool Meals Act of 2009 would allow more after-school programs to serve food to children aged 18 and under during the school year. To be eligible for reimbursements, the after-school program must offer educational or enrichment activities to students.
Brown has been a leading advocate for food bank assistance programs in Congress. Following passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Brown announced the release of $4.2 million for food and shelter assistance programs. Brown also helped increased mandatory funding available for the Emergency Food Assistance Program to $250 million annually under the 2008 Farm Bill. The additional funding has provided much-needed relief to Ohio food banks suffering from shortages due to increased demand for nutritional services.