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For many parents, the end of the school year means there’s no more stress about homework or getting the kids out in time for class. But for some parents, summer brings a new set of worries, including how they will feed their children.
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While programs like No Kid Hungry can help some families find free meals and snacks within their community, the program doesn’t work in every city. And that often requires parents to have transportation to free lunch sites, which may not be nearby.
A single organization cannot do much. No Kid Hungry released a report saying children could miss up to 95 million meals if a federal program isn’t in place for this summer.
During the pandemic, Congress authorized the USDA to grant waivers allowing schools to more easily provide meals to children during the summer. But this program is due to expire on June 30, 2022.
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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has now introduced the Keep Kids Fed Act, which would extend school lunch waivers until September 30, 2022. If the waiver is not passed, roughly one in five sites are eligible to serve meals at all children during the summer. from 2021 would be closed in 2022, according to the No Kid Hungry report. This could leave nearly 7 million children without access to nutritious food during the summer.
The Keep Kids Fed Act would provide additional reimbursement to schools for all lunches and breakfasts served and also eliminate the “reduced lunch” designation, providing free meals to all students. It would also extend waivers instituted during the pandemic, allowing school districts working with the USDA to provide free summer meals to all students.
The legislation must first pass the Senate and House of Representatives before being signed into law by President Biden. Meanwhile, June 30 – the date the initial waivers expire – is fast approaching.
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“With 90% of our schools still facing challenges as they return to normal operations, this will give our schools and summer meal programs much-needed support to deal with lingering issues. of food service. Congress must act quickly to pass this essential aid,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chair of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, in a statement posted on her website.
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