“The child hunger provisions in this bill are a significant win for kids and families,” says Davis.
Contact: Meredith Jorss, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Senate unveiled the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, an omnibus bill that will fund the government through this Federal fiscal year and help millions of children have better access to healthy food during the summer months. The following is a statement from Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign:
“This bill is a win for kids and families across the nation and we applaud Congress for addressing summer hunger. Currently, 6 out of every 7 children who participate in free or reduced-price school meals are unable to access the summer meal program, putting them at risk of hunger. This legislation will make a meaningful impact toward closing that gap and ensuring more children get the nutrition they need to grow up healthy, strong and able to succeed in school.
“The omnibus includes two important provisions that will modernize how we reach kids with the food they need during the summer months. It will:
- Establish a permanent nationwide Summer EBT program beginning the summer of 2024 that will provide families with a $40 grocery benefit per child per month, indexed to inflation. Kids will be eligible for these benefits if they qualify for free or reduced-price school meals and can be automatically enrolled if they are directly certified for free or reduced-price school meals.
- Create a nationwide non-congregate option for summer meals programs in rural areas without traditional congregate sites. Rather than mandating meals be consumed on-site during a certain time, up to ten days worth of meals at a time could be taken home to be eaten later or delivered directly to children. This option could also be used to serve children in rural communities who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals but are not in an area that meets usual eligibility requirements for open-to-all sites.
“We know these investments will work. When the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to skyrocket childhood hunger rates, Congress acted swiftly to implement temporary versions of these policies that not only forestalled the worst impacts of the crisis, but helped to dramatically reduce the number of kids living with hunger.
“This bill also includes a provision that will help families who’ve been robbed of SNAP benefits since October , something known as “SNAP skimming,” providing them with much-needed relief through retroactive federal reimbursement of those stolen dollars.
“In order to make these improvements, however, Congress will reduce investments in two temporary pandemic relief programs: Pandemic EBT and SNAP emergency allotments, both of which provide families with additional benefits to buy groceries. This will undoubtedly cause hardship for many at a time when inflation remains very high and families are struggling to make ends meet. While we are disappointed to see these reductions, we recognize that diverting these temporary funds to create permanent policies to close the summer meal gap is a trade-off worth taking.
“We look forward to working with the 118th Congress next year to continue improving how we reach kids whose families are facing hardship with the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.
“In the meantime, we thank Senators Stabenow and Boozman for their leadership on this legislation and urge Congress to move quickly on the omnibus before they break for the holidays. Kids are counting on them.”
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But millions of kids in the United States live with hunger. 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.