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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 10, 1997




Each year during the month of October, we set aside a week to focus on the importance of the National School Lunch Program and its contributions to the health and well-being of America's schoolchildren. Through this program, established more than 50 years ago by President Truman, young people learn firsthand about healthful dietary habits and how to make wise choices regarding the foods they eat. And f or millions of children, many of whom come from families in need, their school lunch is the most nutritious meal they will eat during the day.

When President Kennedy proclaimed the first National School Lunch Week in 1963, some 68,000 schools were serving lunches to 16 million children each day. Today, the program is available in more than 94,000 schools across the country, and 26 million students participate daily. This dramatic growth proves that the program continues to meet a significant need in local communities across the Nation, and its success admirably reflects the hard work and commitment of school food-service professionals, as well as the support and technical assistance provided by State administrators.

The National School Lunch Program also reflects our profound concern for the well-being of our young people. By providing them with wholesome, nutritious meals day in and day out, we are helping to improve our children's overall health, increase their learning capacity, lengthen their attention span, and promote healthful dietary habits that will serve them well for a lifetime.

All of these accomplishments are made possible by the many dedicated food-service professionals, administrators, educators, parents, business and community leaders, and other concerned individuals at the local, State, and Federal levels who work in partnership to ensure the effectiveness of the National School Lunch Program. We must strive to build on their achievements so that this vital program will continue to meet the needs of America's children into the next century.

In recognition of the contributions of the National School Lunch Program to the nutritional well-being of children, the Congress by joint resolution of October 9, 1962 (Public Law No. 87-780), has designated the week beginning the second Sunday in October of each year as "National School Lunch Week" and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 12 through October 18, 1997, as National School Lunch Week. I call upon all Americans to recognize those individuals whose efforts contribute to the success of this program and to observe this week with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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