WASHINGTON, February 7, 2022 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and nearly 2,000 national, state, and local organizations from every state across the country, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, signed a letter urging Congress to swiftly extend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) authority to issue nationwide waivers for the Child Nutrition Programs beyond the current waivers’ expiration date of June 30, 2022.
Extensions will ensure schools, youth-serving and community-based organizations, and child care providers have the resources needed to effectively provide meals — no matter what the school day looks like — to close the childhood hunger gap; improve child nutrition and wellness; enhance child development and school readiness; and improve learning, attendance, and behavior.
These waivers have been critical to addressing access and operational challenges created by the pandemic. When Congress gave USDA the authority to issue nationwide child nutrition waivers through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, USDA was able to provide the flexibilities needed to meet the spike in food insecurity. This allowed school nutrition programs, local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to adapt to changes as needed such as school closures, virtual learning, and supply chain disruptions that USDA has responded to with new investments.
“As the nation continues to grapple with this public health and economic crisis, USDA will need every tool at their disposal to ensure that all children and their families have what they need to survive and thrive,” said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC. “We, in partnership with thousands of organizations from every state that signed the letter, call upon Congress to act swiftly and extend the waiver authority through the very next appropriations bill.”
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.