Food & Nutrition Service
The United States is in a recession. Earlier this year Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Plan of 2009, in hopes that, it will help stimulate the economy; thus shortening the length of the recession. Title II of the Stimulus plan addresses nutrition.
The Food and Nutrition Service is a part of the US Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to provide children and families in need better access to food through assistance programs and comprehensive nutrition education efforts.[i]
The Food and Nutrition Service’s supplemental nutrition program Women, Infants, and Children or WIC program provides food, nutrition education, and referrals to health and other social services to participants at no charge.[ii] WIC is available in all 50 states, and US territories. To be eligible the individual’s family income must at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines.[iii] Currently there are close to 9 million individuals receiving WIC benefits, of which approximately 6.6 million were children and infants. WIC participants receive checks or vouchers to purchase foods from a specified list each month. The purpose of these foods is to supplement their diets with specific nutrients. Different foods re provided for different categories of participants.[iv]
Under the Stimulus plan, Women, Infants, and Children is to receive $500 million[v]. $100 million is to improve management information systems to include changes necessary to meet new legislative or regulatory requirements. The balance of funds will go to support program participation. On average each participant benefits will increase by approximately $80 dollars.
Another program that will receive increased benefits is the National School Lunch Program. The National School Lunch Program provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 30.5 million children.[vi] Schools that chose to participate in the lunch program receive...