Congress Introduces New Bills to End Summer Hunger. Here's What you Need to Know.

Today, lawmakers on Capitol Hill introduced a new marker bill on Child Nutrition Reauthorization, or CNR, the process that makes updates to our nation's federal nutrition programs, like school meals and summer meals. 

This bill is among four proposals in play right now that would modernize the summer meals programs and make improvements to how our nation gets food to kids in need during the summertime. Here’s what they are:

  • The Summer Meals Act of 2021
    In early April, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representatives Dong Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced this bipartisan bill to expand the summer meals programs. In part, it would expand eligibility for summer meals, allow meal sites to serve three meals a day and provide funding for mobile meal delivery, a game-changer for rural and hard-to-reach communities. Learn more here.
  • The American Families Plan
    Introduced in April by the Biden Administration, this proposal would, in part, expand access to healthy school meals and establish a permanent Summer EBT program to provide grocery benefits to families in the summertime. Learn more here.
  • The Stop Child Hunger Act of 2021
    Introduced in May by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA), this bill proposes to establish a permanent, nationwide Summer EBT program for kids during schools breaks and closures. Learn more here.
  • The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2021
    Introduced today by Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), this bill would make Summer EBT benefits permanently available and allow summer meal program flexibilities in rural and hard-to-reach areas and areas not eligible for traditional summer meals sites. Learn more here.

Each of these proposals is an important step in making long overdue updates to the summer meals programs. This matters. 13 million children are at risk of hunger. Thanks to recent policies, however, this year, many of these kids will get the food they need. Programs like Pandemic EBT are helping parents purchase more of the groceries they need. At the same time, thanks to the recent extension of nutrition waivers, schools and local organizations are continuing to adapt their summer meals programs to reach more kids. 

These proposals draw on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and build on measures that are proven to work. 

No Kid Hungry endorses all four of these proposals and is working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to make these effective policies a permanent reality whether it's through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process, the American Families Plan or other vehicles for change.