FoodCorps Applauds Congress for Passing Keep Kids Fed Act to Extend Critical School Meal Program, Urges Lawmakers to Come Together and Make Program Permanent
June 24, 2022 – Days ahead of the June 30 expiration date, Congress passed the Keep Kids Fed Act, a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to extend critical school meals waivers through the summer. This extension will allow schools and summer programs to continue providing free meals to children through the summer, as well as provide critical benefits like increased reimbursement rates for the 2022-23 school year and more flexible eligibility guidelines. FoodCorps applauds this effort and the leadership of Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR), along with Representatives Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA 03) and Virginia Foxx (R NC-5), but urges lawmakers to do more to make school meals for all permanent and reduce uncertainty for millions of families across the country.
“We commend our nation’s leaders for coming together to pass the Keep Kids Fed Act. But millions of children and their families still face uncertainty in the upcoming school year and beyond,” said Curt Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO of FoodCorps. “School meals for all provide students with the nutrition they need to succeed in school and life, and represent important progress towards equity for all students. It’s a smart investment in our children and a policy that has moved us forward, and I’d like to see it become permanent. We will continue to advocate for our nation’s children and look forward to advancing good public policy at the upcoming White House Conference on Nutrition, Hunger, and Health.”
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, federal school meals waivers have allowed all children to have free access to nourishing breakfasts and lunches. This was critical throughout remote learning, and remains critical with ongoing labor, economic, supply chain, and other pandemic-related challenges. The program removes barriers like income-based eligibility requirements and complex administrative processes, ensuring access for 30 million students regardless of their family’s financial background.
“FoodCorps will continue working with our partners to advocate for healthy food access and food education. We hope that our elected officials will come to a permanent solution on federal school meal and child nutrition programs through future legislation,” Ellis added.
FoodCorps has collaborated with hundreds of organizations to advocate for the continuation of the waivers since the spring of 2020. In addition to funding school meals, the waivers have provided funding and flexibility for school nutrition professionals to counteract increased food and labor costs. President Biden is expected to sign the Keep Kids Fed Act into law this weekend.