Child Advocates Work to Support Senate Bill 3

Anchorage commuters passing through the busy Lake Otis/Tudor intersection this evening between 6 and 7 will be encouraged to honk in support of ending child hunger. The local campaign is part of a national effort to address the growing problem of children going without meals. Kokayi Nosakhere is the local coordinator for the By 2015 America movement.

Nosakhere says a senate bill that would have helped feed more Alaska kids languished and died in the House Finance committee in 2009 and 10. He says Senator Bill Wielechowski offered Senate bill 3 in 2011. It passed the Senate and again landed in the House Finance committee.

“This year we’re saying, we see what you’re doing, it is intolerable, and we will stand up and intervene to prevent that from happening. We want the House Finance committee to stop bottle necking the process and allow the bill to go to a vote. If we lose on the floor we lose on the floor and we can deal with that in November. But to not allow legislators to vote on it is almost criminality,” Nosakhere said.

Nosakhere says Alaska has excellent teachers who work hard to help children become better educated citizens, but he says kids can’t learn if they’re distracted by hunger.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, you can just be a grandmother and know that you have to feed your child for the child to learn,” Nosakhere said.

Senate bill 3 would provide a state match for schools participating in the federal free and reduced school breakfast and lunch program.

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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at ltownsend@alaskapublic.org or call 907-350-2058.

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