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Letter to the Secretary of Agriculture on the School Lunch Demonstration Program.

July 21, 1966

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Poverty and lack of opportunity can be attacked in many ways, as we are proving in America, but there is no more important way than to assure each school child of an adequate meal. So I was pleased to learn of the effectiveness during Fiscal Year 1966 of the special assistance portion of the School Lunch Program, and the fact that nearly 200,000 additional children received these benefits.

It is a tribute to your Department, and to the State and local officials with whom you worked, that the demonstration program was placed in more than 800 schools after the school year was well underway. This experiment also shows what can be done with a relatively modest amount of public funds--$2 million--when all levels of Government cooperate in meeting the basic needs of people.

Your program has also been a good example of an orderly approach to help those who live under the burden of poverty. Innovations were tested in carefully managed experiments, critical evaluations were reached, and maximum use was made of the knowledge and capabilities of State and local officials. Through this approach, we can place in general use those methods which work well, and stop those which do not.

This successful demonstration provides a sound basis for administration of the expanded program in the Child Nutrition Act now before the Congress. I am confident that this important legislation will be enacted. As long as a single child lacks sufficient food to take advantage of a school education, we will be failing our children, ourselves, and the Nation.



[Honorable Orville Freeman, the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The Child Nutrition Act of 1966 was approved by the President on October 11, 1966 (see Item 508).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Secretary of Agriculture on the School Lunch Demonstration Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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