WHEN I SIGNED the National School Lunch Act last June fourth, I pointed out that Congress had provided the basis for strengthening the Nation through better nutrition for our school children and wider markets for the products of our farms. Today you who administer the cooperative program in all the States and territories are met to build upon that basis--to see that the full potentialities of the program are realized in the years ahead.
Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare. The well nourished school child is a better student. He is healthier and more alert. He is developing good food habits which will benefit him for the rest of his life. In short, he is a better asset for his country in every way.
The school lunch program provides a cooperative means of assuring adequate nutrition for millions of our children who otherwise might be denied this basic need. Even in this first year of operation under the new permanent legislation, nearly 8 million boys and girls are expected to receive the benefit of school lunches. This is a splendid start, but we must look forward to the day when the lunches are available in every community in every State and territory.
To you who carry out the program locally falls the crucial job of seeing to it that we build well for the future. I wish you every success in the great task you are undertaking.