The Texas Food Bank Network released its legislative priorities to the Texas Legislature today, highlighting realistic yet meaningful steps our state leaders can take to fight hunger and improve the nutritional health of Texans.
State lawmakers are facing significant decisions that will affect the future of Texas. Since the future of our great State depends on the state of our children today, our leaders must act now to ensure every Texas child is well-nourished, healthy, and ready to learn. Healthy kids are better learners, which translates to a stronger workforce tomorrow.
During the interim, several legislative committees examined one significant problem that poor kids face to succeeding in school—the lack of nutritious food. This is not an isolated problem—one-in-four Texas kids lives in poverty, and hunger touches families in every Texas county—and therefore one we cannot afford to ignore if we care about our state and our future.
In addition to the work of these committees, two state lawmakers joined forces to launch the Farm-to-Table Food Caucus. The first of its kind in the nation, the bi-partisan caucus is chaired by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and vice-chaired by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, and will focus on advancing the local production of healthy food, as well as nutrition-related health problems such as hunger, obesity, and the scarcity of healthy food options in poor neighborhoods.
The challenge for our state leaders this session is how to leverage the work of these committees and the commitment of the Caucus to increase our investment in today’s kids and tomorrow’s workforce.
Every recipe for success has one key ingredient. In the fight to end hunger and improve nutrition in Texas, it’s a strong public-private partnership—because hunger is a shared responsibility that will take our collective resources and will to solve.
Fortunately, strong partnerships are already in place, and significant federal resources are available to support Texas’ efforts to ensure our kids are well-nourished and ready to learn. Our legislative priorities highlight opportunities to strengthen these partnerships by expanding successful programs with existing infrastructure, and maximizing the federal resources available to increase access to healthy foods.