An overwhelming 49 U.S. senators have introduced the bipartisan Support Kids Not Red Tape Act that would extend USDA school meal flexibilities this summer and Summer 2023. The legislation was in response to the USDA recently abolishing the waivers that allowed summer lunches for school children to continue this year and next.
As pointed out in a a Letter to the Editor in The Beacon on March 24 by Executive Director Connie Roe of the Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center, these USDA flexibilities had been crucial for allowing the agency to feed children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With 90 percent of schools around the country still facing many challenges as they return to normal operations, these flexibilities give schools and summer meal programs in Ottawa County and around the country much-needed support to deal with ongoing food service issues — and to keep kids fed,” said Roe.
“In the summer of 2021, the Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center distributed more than 88,000 meals to children across the county. This legislation is imperative to provide the financial support needed to continue this important program. With spiraling costs and a recovering economy, getting food into the hands and bellies of children should be a top priority for everyone.”
The bill will also help schools around the country to transition back to normal meal operations under the National School Lunch Program.