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National PTA President Testifies on Child Nutrition Programs at Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing

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Heidi May, Media Relations Manager

Calls for continued commitment to ensure all children have access to critical nutritious food options

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 12, 2014) — Today, National PTA® President Otha Thornton, accompanied by National PTA Legislative Chair Stella Edwards and National PTA government affairs staff, brought the voice of millions of families and child advocates to Capitol Hill, testifying before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry at a hearing titled, A National Priority: The Importance of Child Nutrition Programs to Our Nation’s Health, Economy and National Security. In his testimony, President Thornton underscored the importance of working together and continuing to improve child nutrition programs to make a difference for students, families, schools and communities. 

“We have made a commitment to our children for more than 70 years to do right by them in the cafeteria, and we cannot turn our backs now,” said President Thornton. “As partners in the school building, PTA and parents understand that there are challenging realities – there’s never enough time, seldom enough money and oftentimes minimal resources. But that has never and can never be a free pass to not do what is best for our kids.”

“Schools are making exceptional progress in the nutritional quality of the meals they are serving to our kids,” President Thornton added. “Together, we can find solutions to the challenges to support our schools and ensure the continued success of our nation’s child nutrition programs, which is critical for students’ success.”

In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve the nation’s child nutrition programs. The Act requires that schools make updates to serve healthier food to students during the school day, including in a la carte lines, vending machines and school stores. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry currently is considering the reauthorization of child nutrition programs, which is due in 2015.

“The decisions made during this reauthorization will impact our schools, hospitals, economy, military, homes, and most importantly, our kids,” said President Thornton. “High quality national nutrition programs are critical to the future of our children and also our country.”

PTA members and families play an important role in helping schools implement improved meal and snack offerings. National PTA and its constituents are committed to working at the federal, state and local levels to strengthen programs that promote healthy school environments and enhance the nutritional health of our nation’s children.

In addition to President Thornton, a retired general, a physician and a principal also testified during the hearing on the nation’s obesity crisis and its impact on the country’s overall health and national security. For more information and to view a recording of the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, visit

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.