Monday, May 16, 2016

Children of California Strawberry Farmworkers Awarded Educational Scholarships

Farmers Continue to Donate Funds to Annual Program that Helps Harvest Worker’s Kids Pursue College
WATSONVILLE, Calif. (May 13, 2016) — Helping children of strawberry farmworkers pursue college, the California Strawberry Commission today announced this year’s recipients of the California Strawberry Scholarship Program.

From the state’s strawberry growing regions, 261 high school graduates, and students attending other institutions of higher learning, will receive a combined total of $197,400 in scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year.

Now in its 23rd year, the program has awarded approximately $2 million to more than 1,000 children of California strawberry farm workers. Of the 2015-2017 scholarship recipients, 133 are from the Watsonville area, 97 from Santa Maria, 29 from Oxnard, and two from Orange County.

“Strawberry farming begins and ends with our farmworkers,” said Neil Nagata, Scholarship Committee Chair for the California Strawberry Commission. “Our strong commitment extends to their families, and we are honored to demonstrate this continuing commitment through the scholarship program. These awards invest in the people who make our crop possible, and help their children achieve their goals.”

Awards are based on individual merit and are sent directly to the student’s school to be applied toward tuition and books. To qualify, scholarship applicants must have at least one parent employed as a strawberry farmworker for the past two consecutive seasons. Students must attend an accredited vocational trade school, junior college or four-year university to be eligible for a scholarship. More than half of the students receiving funding this year currently attend four-year universities, community colleges or professional trade schools.

The California Strawberry Scholarship Program has contributed to students obtaining their educational degrees, including bachelor, master’s and PhD programs. Many recipients have entered professions that enable them to give back to their communities and families.

In Advance of Markup, More than 100 Members of Congress Express Concerns with House Child Nutrition Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Congressman Tony C├írdenas (CA-29) led a group of 111 Members of the Congress in calling on House leaders to strengthen nutrition programs in the child nutrition reauthorization—the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016—rather than enact misguided changes that would hurt our children’s access to nutritious meals, as the legislation currently does.

The legislation includes detrimental changes to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) program, the school meals verification process, and nutrition standards that would cause too many children, especially low-income children and children of color, to lose access to vital programs and healthier meals.

“The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 would unacceptably raise the qualifying threshold for the Community Eligibility Provision from 40 percent to 60 percent. To say this change would be detrimental would be an understatement,” Members wrote in the letter. “Raising the threshold to 60 percent would lead to far fewer schools qualifying for the program and more low-income children going hungry every day. According to CBPP and FRAC, if this bill becomes law, 7,022 schools now using community eligibility would have to reinstate applications and return to monitoring eligibility in the lunch line within two years. Another 11,647 schools that qualify for community eligibility, but have not yet adopted it, would automatically lose eligibility.”

“Gutting sodium standards, blocking scientific evidence from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and allowing junk food to be counted as an acceptable snack would undermine our children’s health and their future. We know that the 2010 standards have allowed our nation to make meaningful reforms to its core child nutrition programs. It is imperative that we continue to improve school nutrition and the hunger safety net for millions of children because hunger and under-nourishment prevent our kids from reaching their full potential, both physically and academically,” Members continued.