Governors recognize the importance of ensuring that children have regular access to healthy meals. Child nutrition is vital to the success of a governor’s agenda because it influences educational attainment, workforce development and health outcomes. While many children do not have regular access to the healthy food they need, chronic childhood hunger is a challenge that state leaders can solve. Reducing Childhood Hunger: A Toolkit for Governors and First Spouses outlines actions governors and their spouses can take to connect children in need to nutrition programs, including forming a state task force or committee focused on reducing childhood hunger, setting a specific and measurable goal, publicly promoting participation in child nutrition programs, and engaging partners and stakeholders across the state.
Governors recognize the importance of ensuring that children have regular access to healthy meals. Child nutrition is vital to the success of a governor’s agenda because it influences educational attainment, workforce development and health outcomes; in short, it affects the state economy. In addition to implementing effective programs to address childhood hunger, governors must make the case that chronic childhood hunger is a challenge that states can solve. This toolkit outlines actions governors and their spouses can take to connect children in need to nutrition programs that will help them grow and thrive. The actions, initiatives and partnerships outlined in this toolkit are derived from governors’ successful practices in diverse regions of the country and across the political spectrum.
Understand childhood hunger in your state
Childhood hunger exists in most communities in the United States, although its prevalence varies from state to state and across regions within each state. Many tools are available for identifying and measuring childhood hunger at the state and local levels. Some tools federal agencies have developed; others may exist in state agencies and universities or through nonprofit organizations (NPOs). Research points to the importance of nutrition in all aspects of child development and can serve states as the basis for framing childhood hunger as part of a larger effort to improve academic, workforce and economic outcomes. The following actions identify ways governors can gather baseline data to map and assess childhood hunger in their state:
- — Use Federal, State and Nonprofit Organization Data to Map Food Environments and Understand Child Nutrition Program Participation in Your State
- — Apply Research on the Effect of Childhood Hunger on Child Development
Governors’ Actions to Combat childhood hunger
- Create a Council, Committee, Cabinet or Task Force to Combat Child Hunger
- Set Specific, Measurable Goals
- Publicly Promote Child Nutrition Programs
Engage Partners to reduce childhood hunger
Many sectors and entities are engaged in the fight against childhood hunger, and several states have successfully launched multisector partnerships to take advantage of public and private resources. Governors and their spouses can collaborate with corporations, foundations, NPOs, local governments, university systems and many other entities to work toward the common goal of ending childhood hunger.