Statement: Congress Overlooks Free School Meals and Critical Child Nutrition Provisions at Expense of America’s Children in Omnibus Spending Bill
Washington, D.C., March 11, 2022 — This week Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that did not contain funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) school meals waivers at the expense of millions of children. The expansive legislation left out critical funding for meal waivers, which will expire on June 30th, 2022 and have provided crucial support to schools and families throughout ongoing economic, supply chain, and labor challenges. The loss of school meal waivers will have real, lasting impacts on kids. Administrative barriers prevent too many kids from accessing the school meals they need so they can focus on their education and wellbeing without facing food insecurity.
While we are disappointed to see our federal elected officials add more uncertainty onto the plates of children, we are deeply grateful for all of the advocates who raised their voices for youth across the country who need consistent nutrition support. School nutrition professionals and coalitions have been working to extend the waivers since the beginning of the pandemic. FoodCorps worked closely with these coalitions over the last months to support the waivers and will continue to work towards securing funding for school meals and programs that provide nutrition education.
We now look to pass Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation that will reapprove and update funding for federal school meal and child nutrition programs affecting millions of children each day and improve U.S. educational achievement, economic security, nutrition, and health.
Together with communities, FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school so that every child—regardless of race, place, or class—gets the nourishment they need to thrive. Our AmeriCorps leaders transform schools into places where all students learn what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day. Building on this foundation of direct impact, FoodCorps develops leaders, forges networks, and pursues policy reforms that in time have the potential to improve all of our nation’s 100,000 schools. To learn more about FoodCorps’ work across the country, visit http://www.foodcorps.org or follow @foodcorps on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.