During this pandemic, No Kid Hungry has been working to make sure kids are able to get the food they need.
One of the most important ways we do that is through child hunger advocacy - working with elected officials and government agencies to strengthen and improve the programs that kids rely on, and making sure our supporters have the chance to raise their voices on important issues.
To fight childhood hunger during this pandemic, we need Congress to do three things:
- Allow the USDA to extend child nutrition waivers through the end of the school year so schools can adapt their meal programs to reach more kids in need. For example, waivers allow parents to pick up multiple meals for a child at a time or pick up meals at locations more convenient than their school. Currently these waivers expire in December and the USDA needs congressional authority in order to extend them.
- Extend Pandemic EBT through the end of the school year. P-EBT is a small grocery benefit given to parents, which is designed to replace the cost of school meals in places where school buildings are closed or meal service is disrupted. For example, in some communities, school meals are available at specific times but many working parents are unable to pick them up. In other places with online learning, finding transportation to pick meals up each day can be a challenge.
- Temporarily increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15% - that’s about $25 more per person per month. SNAP is a powerful took to end childhood hunger. It provides families with a grocery benefit they can use to purchase food for their kids. But currently the need is vast, food prices have risen sharply and the benefit is too low.
There are two pieces of legislation currently under consideration in Congress that cover these three priorities.
THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION
What’s in it: The Continuing Resolution (or “CR)” is a bill that sets aside funding to allow the federal government to continue operating until a new budget is passed. Since it’s a budget continuation, it can’t have new spending, but can continue existing programs. This week, Congress passed a CR that, in part, contained two of our primary objectives.
- It gave the USDA the authority and the funding to extend child nutrition waivers through September 2021
- It allowed the extension of Pandemic EBT through the end of the current school year.
This legislation is a big victory for kids. Here’s No Kid Hungry’s official statement on the Senate passage of the CR.
CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE
What’s in it: This week, the House introduced a new coronavirus relief package, the HEROES Act, that includes quite a few measures around nutrition programs, including an increase to SNAP. Specifically, it includes:
- A temporary 15% increase to SNAP through September 2021, which amounts to about $25 more in benefits per person per month;
- New funding for school and community meal programs, which are currently struggling financially as a result of the new costs and challenges brought by the pandemic;
- A temporary increase in WIC cash value vouchers, helping reach more younger children ages 0-5 with the food they need;
- And much needed funding for relief for the restaurant community.
Here is our official statement of support for the HEROES Act, which is expected to pass in the House later this week. Next, it goes to the Senate for a vote, where there will be an uphill battle to get it across the finish line. Count on us to let you know how you can lend a hand.
The bottom line: Kids will get the food they need because of this legislation, and that’s because of you! Thank you for helping No Kid Hungry fight for kids in need.