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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Ottawa, Canada)
For Immediate Release                                    October 8, 1999




For more than 50 years, the National School Lunch Program has been at the forefront of our Nation's effort to promote the health and well-being of our children. Created to ensure that all children in our Nation receive the nourishment they need to develop into healthy and productive adults, the program provides nutritious lunches to more than 26 million children each day in 95,000 schools and residential child care institutions across the country. For many children, this free or reduced-price meal is often the most nutritious meal of their day.

Equally important, the National School Lunch Program provides our children with the fuel they need to remain alert and attentive in the classroom. Common sense tells us -- and scientific research confirms -- that a hungry child cannot focus on learning and that a child who does not eat properly is more likely to be sick and absent from school. Day in and day out, school lunches give our children the energy to learn today, while helping them prepare for the challenges of the future.

An array of nutrition programs now supplements the National School Lunch Program. Whether providing schoolchildren with a good breakfast or a healthy afternoon snack, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer School Food Service Program, the Special Milk Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program help ensure that our children eat nutritious and healthy meals throughout the day. As we observe this special week, let us reaffirm the belief of President Harry Truman, founder of the school lunch program, that "Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare."

In recognition of the contributions of the National School Lunch Program to the health, education, and well-being of our Nation's children, the Congress, by joint resolution of October 9, 1962 (Public Law 87-780), has designated the week beginning on 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 this week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 10 through October 16, 1999, as National School Lunch Week. I call upon all Americans to recognize all those individuals whose efforts contribute so much to the success of our national child nutrition programs, whether at the Federal, State, or local level.

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


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