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Molinaro & Bonamici Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Childhood Hunger

Washington, DC – U.S. Reps. Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) today announced the introduction of the Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill that increases access to healthy meals and snacks for children in care settings.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides essential nutrition guidance and significant support for child and adult care programs. Unfortunately, many providers have struggled with overly burdensome requirements to participate in CACFP. Nationally, these outdated policies and the increased cost of food are cutting into the funds child care providers need to stay open and offer quality care.

The Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act updates the CACFP to allow an additional meal or snack for children in care for a full day, and streamlines the program to make it easier for early learning programs and child care providers to participate. CACFP currently serves 4.2 million low-income children in child care centers, Head Start and afterschool programs, homeless shelters, and other settings.

Rep. Molinaro said, “To fight childhood hunger and combat our nation’s childcare crisis, we are expanding the Child and Adult Care Food Program to adequately feed children in care facilities and make it easier for more providers to participate in the program. As a member of the Pre-K and Child Care Caucus, I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici to ensure our nation’s children don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.”

Rep. Bonamici said, “Child care providers play an essential role in the fight against hunger. Updating and expanding CACFP will allow this effective program to reach more children, reduce food insecurity, and lower the cost of care. This bipartisan legislation is especially important as many providers struggle to keep their doors open amid rising costs. Child care is economic infrastructure, and removing unnecessary paperwork and boosting resources for child care businesses will help families afford the care and education their young children need. I’m grateful to partner with Rep. Molinaro to provide more children with a healthy start to life.”

Lee Saunders, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said, “Across the country, we continue to face an unprecedented shortage of child care workers, which will only worsen if providers don’t receive critical federal investment. Parents today are working longer hours and depend on child care providers to meet essential needs, including proper nutrition, which is expensive. The bipartisan Early Childhood Nutrition Improvement Act would alleviate this crisis by ensuring providers can afford to serve nutritious meals all day, including suppers. We applaud Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Marcus Molinaro for leading on this issue and introducing this crucial bill.”

Suzanne McCormick, President and CEO of YMCA of the USA said, “A quality meal is essential to the well-being and development of children, and like child care providers throughout the country, YMCAs are working to ensure every child in our care has regular access to nutritious meals and snacks. We are grateful to Representatives Bonamici and Molinaro for their proposal, which would cut red tape and allow a third meal for children who are in our care all day. This bill would improve the CACFP program and enable more providers to participate, giving more children access to the nutrition they need to thrive.”