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center offers an organized program for the kids for the summer you can call it whatever you want but a rose by any other name smells just as sweet.
In effect, it is a Headstart program and why should it not have the benefit of Government assistance in providing a nourishing lunch? The same thing with YMCA and the same thing for a recreational or day-care center that operates through a school or through a nonprofit voluntary agency.
I have been raised at the feet of the experts in the nonprofit voluntary agency field and I have great respect for the work that the nonprofit voluntary agencies do. They were running Headstart programs before the Government ever thought of it.
So, what we are trying to do is extend the philosophy in Headstart, which from all appearances is right and good, to any nonprofit agency which would like to perform that kind of function over the summer. If they want to extend their reach to the 3-, 4-, and 5-yearolds we are sympathetic to testimony which would encourage us to refashion this law so that it would reach down to include that age group.
Mr. Sokol. I can say unhesitatingly on behalf of federation that we would support the extension of the hot, free lunch program to include children under the age of 6 who are in programs sponsored and operated by public or nonprofit voluntary agencies, because the purpose is the same whether the child is 4 or 8 years old.
It is to provide a meal to children who would otherwise not have that food. It is to make it possible for all of us, whether we work for public agencies, private agencies, whether we are in private enterprise or Government enterprise, to join together to solve the problem of poverty in the United States and in solving the problem of poverty we must start with the children and we must start as early as we can with these children and give them every opportunity to develop into self-supporting citizens of the United States.
This is one of the ways in which we can hope to accomplish this.
Mr. SCHEUER. I appreciate your very thoughftul and professional testimony.
Mr. Levine, do you have any counsel for us?
Mr. LEVINE. Not only do we thank you for granting us the privilege of being here, not only would we support it, but we would encourage an amendment to that effect. I am almost embarrassed that we didn't think of it since every one of the agencies mentioned in Commissioner Sokol's statement previously all conduct nursery school programs. They are an integral part of community center work today and they enable working mothers to maintain a family.
So, I think this would be an excellent addition to a bill that I thought was practically perfect.
Mr. SCHEUER. I have no further questions.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Mr. Sokol, as the author of the bill has stated previously, the bill is pretty much patterned after the original hot lunch program, and that bill provided that the lunches would be served for the most part almost exclusively in schools. Over the years since 1946, in those schools where the hot lunches are served, they have developed the facilities for preparing and disseminating these food programs.
Now, Mr. Scheuer is embarking on an extension of that concept and he is going into day camps and child care centers and various other places where young children between the nursery age and high school assemble. In your own institution, you say you have 116 constituent societies serving more than a million men, women, and children in the hospitals, homes for the aged, and family and child care agencies, community centers, country day camps, and day camps.
Now in the case of these last four, child care agencies and community centers, country day camps and day camps, do you now have the facilities for serving hot lunches, if the food itself became available through this program?
Mr. SOKOL. I would say that most, if not all, of our agencies have these facilities already. Even if they didn't have it, it would be a relatively simple matter to provide the facilities for them. Remember that we are dealing here with organized groups. These are not merely groups of volunteer citizens or anything of that kind. We have here established, incorporated, nonprofit organizations which have the administrative machinery to undertake programs of this kind.
I notice that the bill also provides for nonfood assistance so that the cost of including equipment for storing, preparing or serving the food is also provided for in the bill. I do not envisage any difficulty so far as Federation is concerned in any event or any of its constituent agencies, carrying out the purpose of this bill.
I would also assume that there would be supervision on the part of the State with respect to those agencies that would be permitted to engage in those programs so that only those would be permitted to engage in the program who did have facilities or were in a position to create the facilities.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Then this would not create any great problem for you; you feel you either have the facilities or could establish them.
Mr. Sokol. Yes, sir.
Mr. PUCINSKI. I am glad to hear that, because you are getting into a whole new field, food distribution. This is why I think it is very important to have the benefit of the knowledge of someone representing as great an organization as your own, with 116 constituent societies. It is important for us to clear up this particular point for the record.
You have made a very significant contribution to our hearings this afternoon. Your statement is very helpful. I am sure that when our committee starts marking up the bill your assurance that the matter of food distribution would not create a great deal of difficulty in your organization, which is a comparable organization and representative organization. I think this will help us overcome one of the main problems of this bill.
To that extent, I am very grateful to you for taking time to join us this afternoon.
Mr. Sokol. It has been a great pleasure to be here. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Our next witness is T. George Silcott, the director of the Forest Neighborhood House.
Mr. Silcott, if you would like to join us here at the witness table. Please identify yourself for the record.
STATEMENT OF T. GEORGE SILCOTT, DIRECTOR, FOREST
NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE, INC.
Mr. SILCOTT. My name is T. George Silcott. I am the executive director of the Forest Neighborhood House, Inc., which is a nonprofit private agency operating a settlement house program in the southeast Bronx. This is one of the target areas identified by the city for its poverty program.
You may recall I had the opportunity to testify before this subcommittee in the Bronx on the poverty program as well as in Washington last year when the program was under review.
Mr. PUCINSKI. May I interrupt at this point, Mr. Silcott, to assure you that it is a pleasure to have you here. Perhaps my colleague, Mr. Scheuer, would like to introduce you to the committee.
Mr. SCHEUER. I certainly would. I want to express my great pleasure at having Mr. Silcott with us. He is one of the most eminent and respected settlement house directors in metropolitan New York and in addition to that, has been a vigorous and articulate proponent of a better life for all Americans and a principal of equal participation in American life by all Americans.
He is a vigorous and respected fighter in the field of civil rights. My only regret and my only sense of frustration is that his settlement house happens to lie about a block outside the confines of my congressional district. So, I can't claim him for my own in that sense but in a larger sense he has enriched the civic and community life of all of New York City and certainly in the South Bronx.
So, Mr. Silcott, we are delighted, indeed, to have you with us here today.
Mr. Silcott. Thank you, sir.
Mr. PUCINSKI. For the purpose of this record, Mr. Scheuer, we will consider Forest Neighborhood House in your jurisdiction.
Mr. SCHEUER. I accept.
Mr. PUCINSKI. You may proceed, Mr. Silcott, and tell us your views on this important legislation.
Mr. Silcott. First, let me say that Congressman Scheuer needs to be commended for his foresight in proposing such a fine piece of legislation. Those of us who are on the firing line working with low income families know that one of the areas that is most crucial to children is that of having good meals, solid nutritious meals.
This, unfortunately, is not always the case with families. Families have to make cuts in budgets in order to make ends meet. Unfortunately, one of the places where cuts are made is in the area of the meals provided to youngsters.
Fortunately, we have the school lunch program which helps throughout the school year and youngsters are able to get a balanced meal.
In some of the Settlements around the city there are day care programs and our agency sponsors two such centers where youngsters do get nutritiously sound meals. For those who are not able to participate in either of these programs, frankly, they are just left out and are probably not nutritiously fed.
Furthermore, once our youngsters complete the school year and those of our children who are part of the day care program graduate out of that, they begin to slip back in terms of their nutrition because there is not a program to keep the pace up and to guarantee that they will get the minimum requirements that a body needs to keep it sound and solid.
So, it seems to me that a piece of legislation like this which addressed itself to a major deficiency in a nutritional program is very important and rather essential.
I might add that some of us have been very concerned that the President is proposing to cut the milk subsidy program some 79 percent. This was originally $103 million. . We understand it is being cut back to $21 million.
Mr. SCHEUER. Would the witness yield for just a brief remark? Mr. SILCOTT. Certainly.
Mr. SCHEUER. I can assure you that not only I, but Congressman Pucinski and a very large number of aroused and concerned Congressmen, will extend themselves to the utmost to make sure there is not only no cutback of such dimensions but the fact that there is no cutback of any size, shape, form, or description.
I have excellent reason to believe that there will be a consensus in Congress, a broad consensus, that will raise a loud and clear voice against any cutback. Mr. Silcott, you can be sure I will be pounding the table along those lines.
Mr. Silcott. You can be sure that you will have support in the community for your efforts. There is a great deal of concern and I am sure that support is forthcoming, if needed, for your efforts.
I think that one of the unfortunate events in this hearing is that this room is not filled with concerned citizens. I wish to point out that because this room is not filled does not mean that there are not thousands of people who would be anxious to testify before this committee on behalf of this act.
Unfortunately, the material with respect to the testimony, and the opportunity to testify, was not available early enough so that people could make arrangements in their schedule, and take time off from work to be here. I think that I can personally say that all the settlement houses, of which there are 35 in the city, would be totally behind this program as each settlement house would have at least a dozen supporters here to testify in support of this specific legislation.
Mr. SCHEUER. In other words, we could have filled this room five times over—this large room-with mothers as well as professionals who would have supported this bill without reservation.
Mr. Silcott. No question about that. I say that primarily because one of the things that we have been trying to do in our summer programs, settlement houses and community centers, is to provide a lunch program for our youngsters.
It is impossible for us to do this. We have taken advantage of the milk program to be sure that each youngster at least gets milk every day. This we have provided at our own expense using the subsidy, of course, to help us carry the cost.
If we could go the next step and provide a solid lunch to all the youngsters who come to the program we would know that at least every youngster we reach, and there are hundreds of them in the settlement house, has had a basically nutritiously sound meal for the day. Unfortunately, we cannot say that at this point.
If this program is made available it will be possible for us to do that.
I think the evidence supports the notion that if this kind of program is available it will probably be the only solid lunch or nutritiously sound meal that the child will have, this has been our experience in our daycare program where research has pointed out that the meal that our children get at the daycare center is the only meal that they get. They get juice in the morning and for some this is their first bit of food for the day. They get a solid lunch and have a snack in the afternoon. When they get home they may get a sandwich and off to bed. But if it were not for that well-balanced lunch which is designed to provide total daily requirements of the youngster, we know that the 160 youngsters who are serving in our one little program would not have a solid meal.
You can take this and multiply it by the hundreds of other daycare programs in New York City and you will have thousands of youngsters who are getting at least basic nutritional meals under these programs.
I would like to move a bit beyond food to say something about other basic needs which hopefully the committee will address itself to at some point. Some of us have discovered, and I am sure you are aware, that low income people by and large do not have or do not make use of professional services, lawyers, dentists, doctors, and so forth.
It seems to me some of the research which has come out of the Job Corps has indicated that more than half of the youngsters who came into that program had never seen a dentist and the committee might give some thought to how we could make available to the low-income people this basic service. Because coupled with food, you see, is something with which to eat food. Children who have decaying teeth, children who have problems with cavities, children who have toothaches are not interested in eating. It is painful, it is uncomfortable. Therefore, it seems to me in order to further build on this basic foundation of providing solid nutritional meals one might add to it a program of dental care so that youngsters will not only take care of their teeth but will have the basic, if you will, mechanical tools for properly handling food.
Mr. SCHEUER. Excuse me. We had testimony from the staff of the Job Corps indicating that one of the problems they had originally encountered when the young people came to the Job Corps, the 17year-olds, was that they sit meal after meal not eating the meat on the table. They found that after investigating some of these young men they had mouths so diseased they could not eat whole pieces of meat. They had been using bits of stew but mostly soft foods, not meat. Their family had not been able to afford a slice of meat in the traditional sense.
The original estimates of the medical and dental care that each of these young people would need was about $150. They found that the average actually ran in practice about three times that figure. So, what you are saying is absolutely on all fours with the experience that we have had with these young children who didn't have medical care and who grew up to be 17-year-olds with mouths that were in desperately diseased condition.
Mr. Silcott. I think that no one can begin to relate the various problems of low income families to each other. If you can visualize a youngster sitting in a classroom with his stomach empty and wondering whether or not he can be attentive to class, or a kid roaming the streets during the summer who is hungry who has not been fed, what his interests are in healthy creative recreation, or a kid who has a nagging toothache for which there is no relief and tooth