Aug. 26, 2019 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)

Proper nutrition is so important, especially among school-aged children. We’d like to offer some healthy tips now that the new school year is underway, so students are eating right and succeeding in the classroom.

Nutrition experts recommend that people aged 2 or older follow a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables; whole grains; fat-free and low-fat dairy products; a variety of protein foods; and oils.

While it is essential that all of us eat the proper foods, some families do not always have access to a healthy diet. More than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians and nearly 20 percent of children across the commonwealth experience food insecurity every day. Not having enough to eat can have profound effects on a child’s physical health, cognitive development and performance in school.

There are several state and federal programs available that can help to ensure children are getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Pennsylvania’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides services at more than 260 locations and serves more than 205,000 pregnant women, infants and children under age 5.

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program providing critical benefits to 1.85 million children, older adults and individuals with disabilities. This support helps recipients purchase food from local grocery stores and farmers markets.

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions. Pennsylvania served more than 168 million school lunches during the 2018-19 school year through the program.

Parents can apply for SNAP and free or reduced-price school lunches online through the Department of Human Services’ COMPASS application at or on a smartphone with the myCOMPASS PA app.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136 /