Monday, March 17, 2014 | 3:34 p.m.
Congresswoman Dina Titus today introduced legislation designed to combat childhood hunger at school, over the summer and on weekends.
More than 180,000 children in Nevada receive free and reduced price meals at school, including more than 166,000 students in Clark County. Across the country, almost 16 million children are at risk of going hungry every day, said Titus, a Democrat from Las Vegas.
Hungry children are more likely to get sick, have trouble concentrating in school and can exhibit higher levels of behavioral, emotional, academic and stress-related problems, Titus said.
The Helping Hungry Students Learn Act aims to bolster the federal government’s national school lunch program by providing free breakfast for all students who want it and eliminating reduced-priced lunches, allowing all children who qualify for the program to receive free lunches.
Titus’ bill also would increase food-stamp benefits for families with school-aged children during the summer and establish pilot programs to help local nonprofits and organizations provide students with supplemental meals on weekends.
Titus joined students eating lunch today at Whitney Elementary School to highlight her bill. More than 77 percent of Whitney students qualify for federally subsidized school meals.
“This legislation is an investment in our children and their futures,” Titus said in a statement. “A child with access to quality nutrition and a full tummy is more likely to be ready to learn and thrive academically. As the wealthiest nation in the world, we can and should be doing more to give our students the tools they need to be successful.”