This article by Susan Smallheer originally appeared July 5 in the Brattleboro Reformer.
BRATTLEBORO — The two dozen kids had just finished their lunch of whole-wheat macaroni and cheese, green salad and watermelon Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Brattleboro before they headed out for the cool waters of the West River on a sizzling summer day.
That lunch, and the kids’ access to it, could be thrown into jeopardy by severe cuts included in the House version of the 2018 farm bill in Congress.
It would have a devastating ripple effect on child nutrition programs, such as the lunch program at the busy club, said U.S. Rep. Peter F. Welch, D-Vt., who was at the lunch site Thursday to talk to the kids and summer nutrition program leaders in the region.
According to 2017 statistics from the Food Research and Action Center, about 8,000 low-income Vermont children received lunch through the summer food programs, and 5,000 Vermont children received breakfast.
The House Farm Bill would cut the federal food stamp program significantly, cutting $23.3 billion from a $68 billion budget in fiscal year 2017. Welch, who is running for his seventh term in the U.S. House, said he had his hopes pinned on the Senate, which he said was committed to protecting child nutrition programs.
His colleagues in the House, he said, are opposed to the House-passed Farm Bill, which includes funding for a myriad of programs, including SNAP, (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) which is known as the food stamp program.
Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)