Statement attributed to Luis Guardia, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, August 19, 2020 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is calling on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to use his authority to extend the child nutrition waivers that were available in the spring through the 2020-2021 school year to ensure schools and private nonprofit organizations have the flexibility needed to ensure that children who rely on free and reduced-price school meals still get the nutrition they need while schools are shuttered or have schedules that include both remote and in-classroom learning.
Everyone is on the same page in urging the Trump Administration to ensure our nation’s children don’t experience hunger during this pandemic. At the national, state, and community level, organizations, individuals and elected officials on both sides of the aisle, as seen in a letter from Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott and a letter from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and 19 other Senate Republicans, agree that we need to make sure all children, no matter where they live or learn, get the nutritious meals for their physical and mental health and development.
While critical, waivers alone can’t guarantee that all children will be reached with the nutrition they need. That is why Congress must hurry and extend Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to help fill the nutrition gap left by the lack of school meals due to school closures.
The USDA and Congress must use all of the tools in the recovery toolbox to mitigate the growing and alarming rates of food insecurity caused by COVID-19. If not, millions of children are at risk of going hungry.
Secretary Perdue and Congress, it’s in your hands. Hungry children can’t wait.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.