August 20, 2010 Leave a comment
The House bill for Child Nutrition Reauthorization (H.R. 5504) has been approved, but NONE of the increases in CACFP funding are going to go into effect unless Congress now finds a way to fund them! This includes a $5 across-the-board bump in monthly sponsor admin rates, an additional meal each day for providers, and expanded tier 1 status in rural areas. However, unless our Representatives figure out how to pay for these much-needed funding increases, they won’t make it into the final law. As FRAC and the CCFP Roundtable have recently reminded us, it’s Congress’ job to find the money for this. They need to know that we’re paying attention and that Sponsors and Providers want the money that the President promised!
Right now, your Representatives and Senators have returned home for their summer recess. This is the time when they’re supposed to connect with your community, and find out what the voters in their districts want for our country. Until mid-September, they’ll be in their local offices, which are probably within easy driving distance from your own office.
What better time to drop in and chat with them about the impact that increased admin funds and provider reimbursement will have on your local community? They’d love to hear how many voters will be directly impacted, how many of those food reimbursement dollars will be spent directly in your home district, and how good a site visit to a provider’s home would look for them on the evening news. And right now, they may not even know that the CACFP exists, much less how important it is to the health of our nation’s children!
Even if you don’t visit their offices, call in! If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get to talk to them directly, or more likely you’ll talk to one of their staffers. You can bet that most of their staffers either have children in childcare or were in childcare themselves not so long ago. Tell them about your agency and the good work that you do—they’ll be interested! Let them know you’re right down the street, and how many providers in their district you work with, maybe even how many parents in their district have children on the CACFP. You’re bound to get their attention, and it’s definitely worth a shot!
The House of Representatives bill is the only one that includes the admin rates bump, but “pay-go” rules prohibit the bill from being passed unless our Representatives first establish how they’ll pay for it. So remember, when you talk with them it’s THEIR job to figure out where the money comes from, what we want to remind them is that American children’s health is too important to play politics with. Right now they’re proposing cuts to the SNAP program (formerly Food Stamps) to pay for child nutrition, so if this subject does come up, you might want to appeal to their compassionate nature to dump this very bad idea for funding!
Your Senators and members of Congress are just people, like you and me—and so are their staffers and office workers. Don’t be intimidated out of participating in the democratic process and making Child Nutrition Reauthorization happen! Register your support for a FULLY FUNDED H.R.5504 today!
They don’t know how important the CACFP is unless we tell them! Take 15 minutes and call! CACFP Sponsors and Providers are the BEST ambassadors that the food program has!
Go to the CCFP Roundtable’s website (www.ccfproundtable.org) and click on Advocacy for a great list of resources: find your congressperson, sample letters, and instructions on how to visit your representatives!