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Anti-Poverty Group Honors Members

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) were both awarded the “Distinguished Service Award” by the Food Research and Action Center for their efforts to improve the lives of lower income children at an awards banquet last week.

Ellen Vollinger, spokeswoman for FRAC, said that Miller and Snowe were recognized for their efforts because of the extraordinary amount of leadership that they have shown in the war on poverty during their time in Congress.

Miller has long been a proponent for poor families, helping to found the Women, Infants and Children Program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. According to its Web site, the WIC program “serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk.” He was also the founding chairman of the House Select Children, Youth and Families Committee, a committee formed in response to then-President Ronald Reagan’s budget cuts and one that FRAC has lauded for its “efforts to prevent budget cuts in programs for children, nutrition, education public housing, workplace safety and health care.”

In his remarks at the dinner, Miller thanked FRAC for “giving childhood hunger the attention it deserves” and recognizing those who work toward “fighting childhood hunger.”

While bestowing the award upon Snowe, FRAC recognized years of effort on her behalf aimed at helping the poor. She spearheaded a bipartisan effort to increase funding for child care by $6 billion in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Reauthorization bill, and has always been a “champion of more adequate child care funding” for working mothers intent on leaving welfare. Snowe was also among the leaders who pushed to expand the Refundable Child Tax credit earlier this year, stating “accessible, quality child care is a key ingredient in the effort to move families from public assistance to financial independence.”

“I am proud to have worked with FRAC to give children and low-income families every opportunity we can to ensure those families have the resources they need to put food on the table,” Snowe said of the honor.

Now in its 15th year, the Distinguished Service Award has had a number of notable honorees in the past, including Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.).

The Food Research and Action Center looks to award public officials and private citizens (Pathmark Stores CEO Eileen Scott and Communications Workers of America lobbyist Lou Gerber were also honored at this year’s dinner) who take an active role in leading the fight against poverty in America.

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