“Schools and local meal providers have stepped up to feed kids since the pandemic started,” says Davis, “But today, Congress made their jobs even harder.”
Contact: Meredith Jorss, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the Senate unveiled the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill, which fails to include authorization for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend important child nutrition waivers past June 30 this year. The following is a statement from Share Our Strength Senior Vice President Lisa Davis on the importance of these waivers and the consequences of letting them expire:
“Today, Congress failed our kids by not clearing the path for USDA to extend critical child nutrition waivers. These waivers are essential for schools and local meal providers, who have stepped up to feed kids since the start of the pandemic and continue to face huge obstacles, to reach kids with the nutrition they need. Schools are under enough pressure. Today, Congress made their jobs even harder.
“While we are all hoping for a return to ‘normal,’ there’s nothing normal about the environment schools are operating in right now. Schools and community meal providers continue to face extreme challenges including acute staff shortages, rapidly rising food costs and severe supply chain disruptions. These waivers are critical to their continued operations.
“The consequences of not extending waivers are severe. Without them, schools will face financial penalties for not meeting federal nutrition requirements, even though they have no choice. They will have fewer financial resources to meet higher prices for food and other goods, staffing and transportation. Summer - already the hungriest time of year - will be particularly hard for kids when many summer sites will be unable to open. Children in rural communities will face more barriers to accessing summer meals when important flexibilities like multiple meal pickup and delivery options disappear.
“Today’s news is a worst-case scenario for schools and children nationwide. We urge Congress to include USDA waiver authority in the omnibus bill before its final passage.”
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 6 kids could face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty.