"This extension falls short of what is needed to ensure children will not go hungry," says Davis. "The USDA needs to get the job done."
Contact: Meredith Jorss, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the United States Department of Agriculture announced a one-month extension of four nationwide child nutrition waivers. These waivers, extended through September 30th, have been essential in enabling school districts and community organizations to reach kids with the food they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a statement from Share Our Strength's Senior Vice President Lisa Davis:
"We are deeply disappointed that the USDA did not exercise its full authority to extend these child nutrition waivers throughout the entire school year, thereby providing families with the certainty of nutritious meals and schools with the flexibility to provide them. While we appreciate that this temporary measure solves one of the many challenges facing school districts as they begin to re-open, namely a gap in service between August 31st when the previous waivers ended and the start of the school year for those districts going back in September, it falls far short of what is needed to ensure children will not go hungry this fall.
When COVID-19 hit the United States and schools around the country moved to remote learning, the USDA provided them with the flexibilities they needed to make sure access to school meals continued for the children who rely on them. As kids across the country go back to school, that need for flexibility has only increased, particularly for those children learning virtually for part or all of the time. Our nation's schools and community organizations have demonstrated tremendous creativity and commitment to making sure children in their communities can access nutritious food. But they cannot continue to meet that challenge without all of the flexibilities and resources that have been in place since March.
The data is clear. An unprecedented number of children–14 million according to one study–are going hungry during this health and economic crisis. This is more than five times higher than numbers reported this time last year. And studies show Black and Hispanic families with children are hit the hardest. Yet instead of funding and empowering schools and community organizations and ensuring equitable access to nutrition, the USDA is withholding critical tools and placing undue hardship on families and burdensome processes and red tape on our schools.
We strongly urge the USDA to extend all child nutrition waivers for all districts for the entire school year so children can continue getting the nutrition they need to learn and thrive.”
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 4 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.