Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, April 20, 2021 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its decision to extend critical nationwide waivers at a time when the country continues to witness startling increases in the number of households with children experiencing hunger. The waivers are extended through the 2021–2022 school year. We look forward to working with USDA on any additional waivers that are needed to ensure children’s access to the much-needed meals that are available through the child nutrition programs.
During the pandemic, food insecurity has increased significantly as families have lost jobs and wages. The waiver extension through the 2021–2022 school year will have a tremendous impact on closing the childhood hunger gap, improving child nutrition and wellness, enhancing child development and school readiness, and supporting learning, attendance, and behavior.
The USDA’s extension ensures schools and child care providers have the resources needed in order to effectively provide meals, no matter what the school or preschool day looks like.
While the extension of the waivers will help millions of children get the nutrition they need for their health and development in the upcoming school year, FRAC calls upon the Biden administration and Congress to make healthy school meals available to all children at no charge, beyond the pandemic.
By offering meals to all students at no charge, the Biden administration and Congress can help curb childhood hunger, support school nutrition operations, alleviate school budget shortfalls, and eliminate unnecessary financial burdens on low-income households.
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.