This week the White House announced it will host the first Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in over 50 years. In response, long-time New Jersey food security champion Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement:
“No one should have to feel the pang of hunger or have the first and biggest challenge on any given day be how to feed your family. Yet, more than 38 million Americans – including almost a million New Jerseyans – face that reality. I commend President Biden for bringing this issue to the fore nationally and thank Senator Booker, whose congressional leadership has motivated renewed focus. It is my hope New Jersey’s policy approach can be a model for others.
“Throughout my speakership, working with several partners, I have prioritized the fight against hunger and as a result we have seen 17 bills signed into law. Among them, a measure creating the nation’s first executive-level position dedicated to coordinating food security initiatives, a grant program to boost campus resources and support for food insecure college students, a program to eliminate food deserts, streamlined access to SNAP, expanded eligibility for free school meals.
“Dedicated in this fight and knowing the grave economic impact of the pandemic, we also nearly tripled our financial support for food distribution centers over the course of our last five state budgets. With more bills making their way through the Legislature, New Jersey is on course to feed every child, who needs it, breakfast and lunch at school.
“The White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health marks an important step forward. Far too many are still left dangerously vulnerable by hunger and poor nutrition, so the need to convene leaders and stakeholders across agriculture, health, education, and more to address one of the most fundamental challenges facing our communities has never been greater.
“Holistic health and success begin with being well nourished.”