On Monday morning, we celebrated the passage of school lunch legislation just enacted that guarantees a hot, nutritious meal to an additional 61,000 low-income Minnesota children. The legislation also ensures that these children will never have a tray pulled or a stigmatizing “MONEY” stamp or sticker placed on their hands or chest.

Our excitement quickly dampened when we learned of the proposed congressional legislation that would roll back requirements for healthy breakfasts and lunches in schools that complain about the cost of compliance. If anything, we should be working to reinforce healthier eating choices and find ways to support school districts that offer those options. We must not retreat from requirements that ensure better health for our children and reduce the cost on taxpayers and future generations that unhealthful foods impose.

Moreover, the impact of a retreat would disproportionately harm low-income children and their families who rely heavily on the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program.

Our kids have started making smarter nutritional choices as a result of policies we have put in place. All of us should support — and oppose any efforts to weaken — those policies.

Jessica Webster and Colleen Moriarty, St. Paul

 

Webster is a staff attorney with Legal Aid; Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota.