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Child Nutrition Index

Fortunately, ensuring our children have adequate food and nutrition already has a sustainable solution: Improve access to and participation in four existing federal nutrition programs for children in low-income households. These programs provide nutritionally balanced meals for children in utero to age 18, and they are funded through federal program dollars that reimburse the states for their costs, effectively sustaining the programs for the long-term. These meals are served to eligible children in childcare centers, schools, community centers, libraries, parks and homes.

We uses a proprietary data analytics tool to pinpoint the areas of greatest need and customizes strategies to increase meals participation, such as a one-time investment in infrastructure and equipment that can sustain feeding of children while drawing down federal nutrition funding for decades to come. Hunger Impact Partners is focused on improving processes and capacity in existing programs and leveraging their federal dollars to sustain feeding at-risk children.

Rather than using the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture food insecurity surveys or the American Community Survey to get child hunger statistics, we looked at the numbers of Minnesota kids eligible for child nutrition programs as our base. We then determined the number of K-12 children certified as eligible to receive free or reduced price meals as well as the number of infants and children up to age 5 who are eligible for WIC. This data shows that nearly 500,000 Minnesotan children are eligible to receive meals through various federally-funded child nutrition program.

Here, for example, is a screen grab of the Child Nutrition Index entry for Saint Paul’s Murray Middle School.

At a glance, this information tells us that 416 kids or 60 percent of the population at this site are eligible for federal meal programs.  It also tells us which nutrition programs they are serving and the participation level. We use this information to inform strategies at schools to increase participation or launch additional meal programs. It also allows us to calculate potential reimbursement values.

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