Last week, the Food Research and Action Center suggested a strategy for ending childhood hunger by 2015, a goal to which President Obama committed during his Presidential campaign. The strategy includes:
- Restoring economic growth and creating jobs with better wages for lower-income workers
- Raising the incomes of the lowest-income families
- Strengthening the SNAP/Food Stamp Program
- Strengthening the Child Nutrition Programs
- Engaging the entire federal government in ending childhood hunger
- Working with states, localities, and nonprofits to expand and improve participation in federal nutrition programs
- Making sure all families have convenient access to reasonably priced, healthy food
It’s exciting to see the alignment with projects we’ve been working on at CAP, particularly the many iterations of work toward increasing participation in public benefit programs.
At the same time, it’s promising to hear a national advocacy group like FRAC balance targeted short-term strategies with the reminder that “parents want jobs and good wages… as the means to support their families” and that public benefits alone “can’t carry the whole burden.”
As critical as nutrition supports are for addressing immediate needs, relying on these to serve an ever growing number of families is neither sustainable nor desirable. What is desirable is for each successive generation of families—regardless of the circumstances they’re born into—to be better prepared to succeed in the workforce so that fewer must rely on these programs in the first place—the essential focus of the “dual-generation” strategy being adopted by more and more antipoverty groups, including CAP.
Of course, it’s not a bad political line either. As the FRAC report puts it, “dramatically reducing hunger and poverty while the economy declines is swimming against too strong a tide.” The economy as a “tide”—where have I heard that before?