President Biden signs law extending funding for youth summer meal programs
President Biden has signed the Keep Kids Fed Act that extends funding and flexibilities for summer youth meal programs.
Vince Hall, chief government relations officer with Feeding America, tells Brownfield the law extends child nutrition waivers that were set to expire at the end of the month. “This hunger is afflicting children at a much higher rate than the rest of the population. We know that about 22 million kids in this country are eligible for free-and-reduced meals at schools because their families are struggling with poverty.”
He tells Brownfield communities are struggling to serve children because of supply chain issues rising food costs. “From dairies, to school cafeterias and summer meal sights, inflation has caused the cost of transportation, the cost of food, the cost of labor, the cost of fuel, every aspect of moving food to kids is much more expensive now.”
The legislation from Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Boozman (R-AR) and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC) provides temporary authority to USDA to eliminate the reduced-price mal category and increase reimbursement rates to help offset inflation.
Hall says the law helps producers, schools and communities provide nutrition assistance to students. “Programs across the country that help fill that gap to help give access to nutritious food all summer long so that they can show up to the school in the fall nourished, fit and ready to learn and will have the funding and flexibilities they need.”
Hall says the waiver was originally granted as part of the pandemic response to ensure meals for children.