Statement by Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer:
“During the school year, 22 million children rely on the National School Lunch Program for healthy, nutritious meals at free or at reduced prices. When school lets out, many families struggle to make up for the loss of school meals, leaving far too many children — 5 out of every 6 kids — unsure of where they will find their next meal. Feeding America applauds a new proposed United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule that will help ensure fewer children are hungry during the summertime.
“The proposed USDA rule aims to give Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) operators more flexibility and control to better meet the nutritional needs of children throughout the summer months. By reducing programmatic red tape, such as addressing rule changes from last summer that require states and SFSP sponsors to navigate a cumbersome ‘waiver’ process, the proposed rule is a step in the right direction toward closing the summer child hunger gap.
“When school is out of session, food banks and other community organizations are on the frontlines to bridge the gap and help provide meals to kids who can’t access a summer meal site. If implemented, the proposed rule would help eliminate administrative hurdles, helping to maximize the program’s impact. Stronger, more efficient summer meal sites equal more kids enjoying summer break and less kids facing hunger.
“With summer 2020 on the horizon, Feeding America, in collaboration with other national partners and USDA, will continue to build awareness and communications around this proposed rule and how it will impact the future state of summer meal operations. We look forward to working hard to ensure every child has the food they need to thrive in the summer.”
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.