Feeding America Urges Senate to Support Efforts to Close the Summer Child Hunger Gap Which Impacts 18 Million Children

Statement attributed to Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer at Feeding America

June 20, 2019

"Feeding America believes that every child deserves to have access to enough food, yet so many miss meals in the summertime when school is closed. During the school year, 22 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch through the National School Lunch Program, but most children – 83 percent – do not receive meals through summer feeding programs during the summer months when school is out. That means that about 5 out of every 6 children are left underserved during this critical time away from school.

“Congress has a chance to help feed more children in the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization process by improving access to summer meal sites, providing a summer grocery card, and allowing alternate delivery models in areas where kids are not able to access the other two programs.

“Feeding America food banks are on the fronts lines of the fight against child hunger across the country.  Last summer, network food banks served 10 million meals through nearly 6,000 summer meal sites and an additional 13.8 million meals were served through other child nutrition programs.

“Our food banks work hard to provide food to children in their communities but are burdened by administrative rules that make it harder to operate summer meal sites. Congress can help strengthen our work by streamlining how summer and afterschool programs work together, allowing food banks to increase the meals we can provide. 

“At other times, children cannot access a summer meal site because of where they live. We support expanding nutrition programs to allow a summer grocery card and alternate delivery models to give children in need equitable access to meals no matter where they live.

“Feeding America strongly endorses the following three bills and the bipartisan leadership of Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), and Patty Murray (D-WA) and other Senate co-sponsors to help us ensure every child has access to the nutritious meals they need to grow, learn and thrive. These bills include:

  • Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 – John Boozman (R-AR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Summer Meals Act of 2019 – Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2019 – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

“We urge all Senators to support these bills and look forward to working with both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee to ensure these policies are included in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year.”


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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.