Rep. Mike Levin discussed his work to expand nutrition benefits for children who struggle with food insecurity while touring Oceanside’s Frazier Farms. Photo via @RepMikeLevin Twitter

Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, discussed his work in Congress to expand nutrition benefits for children who struggle with food insecurity while touring Frazier Farms in Oceanside Monday.

Levin introduced the Stop Child Hunger Act earlier this year, intended to provide families who have children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals with an electronic benefit transfer card when school is not in session. Last week, the House Education and Labor Committee added a provision in its portion of the Build Back Better Act that makes similar investments to those outlined in Levin’s legislation.

“It is simply unconscionable that any child should be allowed to go hungry because their family doesn’t have the support they need, and we must do better for our children,” he said. “As we heard today from Oceanside Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale, many families in our community struggle to put food on the table, and we must do more to help them.”

“I’m incredibly grateful for the work the San Diego Hunger Coalition does to support those families, and I appreciate the opportunity Frazier Farms provides to use nutrition benefits at their stores,” Levin said. “Now we must pass my Stop Child Hunger Act and make stronger investments in nutrition assistance in the Build Back Better Act so we can meet our moral responsibility to ensure our children aren’t going hungry.”

Around 29.6 million students nationally are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals each day during the annual school year. School nutrition programs provide critical nourishment to students to support healthy living and improve cognitive function throughout the school day, and a lapse in these benefits can have a drastic impact on low-income families, he said.

“No child should ever have to experience the devastating impacts of hunger or malnutrition. Yet we continue to see parents struggling to put enough food on the table when school meals aren’t available,” San Diego Hunger Coalition CEO Anahid Brakke said.

“The Stop Child Hunger Act of 2021 offers an easy, practical solution: give parents with very low incomes a little extra money on an EBT card when school is out, so they can purchase more healthy food for their kids,” Brakke said. “The funds are spent in local grocery stores like Frazier Farms, parents can buy what their kids will eat and, most importantly, children don’t have to worry about getting enough to eat during school breaks.”

City News Service contributed to this article.

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