Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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August 7th, 2014

Gillibrand Visits Sullivan County

Senator Kristen Gillibrand has made it her business to visit Sullivan County at least once a year to discuss legislation she is sponsoring before the United States Senate.

This year the focus of her visit to Sullivan County was to discuss her mission is to ensure that children who participate in lunch programs during the school year are also provided with meals during summer months.

The statistics are alarming with 22 million children receive free or reduced school lunch with only 1 In 7 having access to summer meals.

Gillibrand’s bipartisan legislation expands the program to provide more children with access to quality, nutritious food throughout the summer.

In Sullivan and Orange Counties 5,863 low income kids ate lunch daily in the summer while almost 21,748 ate lunch daily during the school year.

Standing at the YMCA Camp in Thompson Town Park, Gillibrand, joined by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Chef Andrew Yeomans announced the Summer Meals Act, which would enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program.

The legislation would help improve nutrition and enhance learning in underserved areas by better integrating summer education and meals programs, making it easier for public-private partner organizations to participate in the summer meals program, and by providing a third meal for children who attend evening enrichment programs.

“Many children receive their only meal at school during the year, and when school is out for the summer, they go hungry,” said Gillibrand, first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “The bipartisan Summer Meals Act would help combat this problem by strengthening the USDA summer nutrition program to help more children across America access quality meals during the summer months. Every child who is hungry should have food year round.”

Assemblywoman Gunther in support of Gillibrand’s legislation said that “Summer meals programs are more important than ever, especially in my District where food insecurity is an issue facing far too many children.”

Gunther added, “No child should ever go hungry, and the Summer Meals Act of 2014 is a welcome and necessary measure to ensure that every child has access to nutritious food during the summer months. I’m proud to stand with Senator Gillibrand and support passage of this critical legislation.”

Town of Lumberland Supervisor Nadia Rajsz commenting on Gillibrand’s visit said, “This program will ensure that Sullivan kids will be provided for and eating especially in the summer months. Thank you again for all that you do to support our youth and our residents of Sullivan County.”

“The Summer Food Service Program’s residual benefits not only provide meals when school is not in session, but it provides entire families a modicum of financial relief by leaving more grocery money available for wholesome foodstuffs currently experiencing significant cost increases,” said Chef Andrew Yeomans, Food Service Director of the Monticello Central School District.

“This program’s residual benefits also include but are not limited to, targeting Federal dollars to areas experiencing significant numbers of low income families by closing the widening gap between food insecurity and food security, providing an alternative revenue stream to many school nutrition programs currently operating in a negative financial position thereby lessening the burden on local property taxpayers mandated to cover the balance. Further, as demonstrated by Monticello Central School District’s program, community organizations will utilize USDA’s SFSP as a “Draw” for participation, which pulls children from potential inactivity, or mischief, gives them organized activities to participate in, and fosters a healthier lifestyle through physical activity and the development of healthier eating habits.”

On a typical school day in March 2013, there were 4,072 students in Sullivan County who participated in the free or reduced priced school lunch program.

However, in July 2013 there were 808 in Sullivan County who participated in the summer lunch program.

The Summer Meals Act would help more children access healthy food by lowering the threshold to allow areas with 40 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced lunch to be eligible for the program. Currently the bar is set at 50 percent.

Senator Gillibrand’s legislation would expand eligibility to an additional six Sullivan County school districts: Liberty, Fallsburg, Sullivan West, Eldred, Livingston Manor, and Monticello.

This legislation would also reduce the paperwork burden for private-public partnerships who want to participate in the program, provide children with transportation to the summer meals sites, and would also offer an additional meal to children who attend evening programs.

The USDA Summer Food Service Program provides low-income children under age 18, who would normally receive free or reduced school lunch, with quality, nutritious food during the summer. Several programs run in tandem with educational enrichment programs to keep children engaged and safe during the summer months. Currently, there are 45 national organizations that have endorsed the Summer Meals Act legislation.

Senator Gillibrand clearly understands the needs of the Hudson Valley region and Sullivan County.

Senator Gillibrand’s passion to help those in need along with protecting our most vulnerable is exemplary. She even told me she would help me to ensure the passage of Paula’s Law in Albany.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.



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