Statement Attributed to Vince Hall, Chief Government Relations Officer
This week, both the House and Senate passed spending legislation that includes two major provisions to help ensure all children have access to nutritious meals when schools, and their cafeterias, are closed for the summer. The legislation establishes a new permanent, nationwide Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) grocery card program that will give the families of eligible children an extra $40 per month, per child for food, helping make up for the school meals that kids miss during summer break. It also grants summer meal providers the flexibility to use non-congregate program models, such as grab-and-go meals, in some rural areas, making meals more accessible for many children. The fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending bill also includes important annual funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other anti-hunger programs.
The following statement is attributable to Feeding America Chief Government Relations Officer Vince Hall:
“The child nutrition provisions in the recently passed omnibus spending bill are a historic win for children and families. These are the most extensive permanent policy changes to end child summer hunger in a generation, and they are long overdue. Feeding America applauds Congress for taking bipartisan action to help millions of children across the U.S. access nutritious meals during the summer to help them learn, grow and thrive.
“Last year, 1 in 8 kids in the U.S. faced hunger, but for Black and Latino children, these numbers are persistently higher. In 2021, Black and Latino children were more than twice as likely to face hunger as their white classmates. This staggering and harsh reality drives the Feeding America network of 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 faith-based and charitable food pantries and meal programs to do all it can to help families keep nourishing food on the table. But when schools close for summer and school meals disappear, food insecurity rises.
“Establishing a nationwide Summer EBT program is a critical step forward to ensure every child in the U.S.—no matter their race, background or ZIP code—can access the food they need to thrive. By creating the first new, permanent federal nutrition program in nearly 50 years, lawmakers are acknowledging that our country needs long-term solutions, not just temporary pandemic assistance, to end child hunger. Feeding America strongly supported the passage of the omnibus spending bill because of the permanent programs the bill creates and enhances to address summer child hunger, despite our opposition to the early sunsetting of some temporary pandemic-related benefit enhancements to pay for these provisions.
“Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. They must have all the tools for success, including consistent access to nutritious food. Feeding America will continue to work alongside the communities we serve, Congress and the administration to create solutions to end hunger among all children in the U.S., no matter where they learn, play and live.”
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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 5.3 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.