202-640-1089 ext. 3039
Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2022 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) applauds Congress for their bipartisan efforts to pass the Keep Kids Fed Act quickly and overwhelmingly. This is a critical first step to help avert a summer hunger crisis, support access to child care meals, and provide additional funding and flexibility needed for school nutrition operations.
We thank Congress for enacting this bipartisan package to prevent a summer hunger crisis. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our state and national partners and the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate led by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and in the Senate, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), in this crucial step forward for our nation’s children.
The child nutrition waivers that have been available since the onset of the pandemic are set to expire on June 30. This legislation will help mitigate the impact of the loss of the waivers and is critical in supporting children’s access to summer meals and meals at childcare. Additionally, this is a significant first step to help shield some of the impacts of inflation, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages.
Still, more must be done.
The provisions in the legislation are only temporary, and do not go as far as we would like. They do not support access to school meals for children in the upcoming school year. Moreover, the provisions do not provide much-needed access to free school meals for millions of school-aged children who will lose access if schools are unable to offer meals to all of their students at no charge in the upcoming school year. School meals are a critical resource for families struggling to recover from the pandemic, reducing childhood hunger, and improving children’s academic achievement. Without access to free school meals, an alarming number of children will be at risk of hunger. Additional investments in proven child nutrition programs will ensure our nation’s children have access to healthy food in order to thrive inside and outside of the classroom.
As we look ahead to the upcoming school year, we call on Congress to make additional investments in child nutrition programs through the upcoming budget reconciliation to prevent child hunger and support children’s access to free school meals. More must be done to ensure our nation’s children have access to the healthy and nutritious food they need.
FRAC now urges Congress to make additional and much-needed long-term improvements to child nutrition programs to more fully address our nation’s hunger crisis.
Hungry children can’t wait.
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.