Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2021 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its decision to extend critical nationwide waivers, including area eligibility, parent and guardian pick-up, non-congregate meal service, through September 30, 2021.
This extension will ensure that schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofit organizations have the consistency, flexibility, and time needed in order to effectively plan and implement summer meal service for the millions of children across the country who need access to nutritious meals during the summer.
We applaud Secretary Vilsack for extending the waivers through the summer. These meals remain critical for struggling families who are being impacted by the pandemic.
While these temporary investments will help millions of children get the nutrition they need for their health and development, FRAC calls upon the Biden administration and Congress to make free school meals available to all children now and beyond the pandemic.
As students have and are returning to the classroom, school meals will provide a critical source for children to get the nutrition they need for their health and learning. Offering meals to all students at no charge will help curb childhood hunger, support school nutrition operations, alleviate school budget shortfalls, and eliminate unnecessary financial burdens on low-income households.
Later this month, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will join FRAC, Feeding America, and other anti-hunger leaders at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. This largest gathering of anti-hunger policy advocates will take place March 16-18, 2021. To learn more, visit antihungerpolicyconference.org.
For 50 years, the Food Research & Action Center has been 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.