Statement Attributed to Vince Hall, Chief Government Relations Officer
“Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief network of 200 food banks, 21 statewide associations, and 60,000 faith-based and non-profit partner food pantries and meal programs, applauds Congress for taking the needed steps to extend child nutrition waiver authority, which will help ensure children are able to access much-needed nutrition in the months ahead. Network food banks and partners have been asking for this continued flexibility for many months. The bi-partisan legislation, the Keep Kids Fed Act, was released today by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR) and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA 03) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC 05) ahead of the June 30th deadline. The bill would provide temporary authority to USDA to provide summer meal program flexibilities, eliminate the reduced-price meal category, and increase reimbursement rates to help offset rising food costs. It will offer much needed stability, predictability, and an assurance that children will be better able to get the meals they need through the coming year. Together, these provisions will provide significant help for children who often do not know where they will get their next meal, particularly in communities of color that experience hunger at a disproportionate rate.
“Originally granted as part of the pandemic response to ensure access to meals for children in need during the school year and in the summertime, waivers allowing flexibilities for child nutrition program operators remain essential to addressing child food insecurity, particularly amid continued supply chain disruptions and ongoing barriers to reaching kids in rural areas. As it stands, schools and communities need continued flexibilities to safely plan for and offer summer meal programs and nutrition assistance during the next school year.
“For millions of school children, school meals are often their only reliable nutrition source. Feeding America stands ready to work with Congress to ensure this important bill passes both chambers and is signed by President Biden, and we look forward to working with them on future legislation to ensure child nutrition programs remain strong and responsive to local needs in the months and years ahead.”
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.