WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups praised the renewal of a law funding school meals, but expressed concern that it was financed in part by money designated for food stamps.
The approval in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act means the bill — which had been subject to some last minute wrangling — is ready for enactment by the president.
The bill extends for another ten years funding for school lunches and breakfasts for children from families that depend on the meals, estimated at 4.2 million households.
The passage "is an important achievement that will improve the lives of millions of children,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, the president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the public policy umbrella for the Jewish community. “This bill is an acknowledgement that in a nation as bountiful as ours, no child should worry about when their next meal will be."
The JCPA was at the forefront of an interfaith coalition lobbying for passage.
Other groups that had sought the bill’s passage included the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the National Council for Jewish Women.
All three groups in their statements praising passage expressed regret that some of $4.5 billion in funding was drawn from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp benefits.
"By imposing what amounts to a $60 per month cut in SNAP benefits for a family of four, Congress hurts the very families that this legislation is designed to help," the RAC said. "Cutting SNAP benefits during the third consecutive year