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Policy 101: These Bills Will Help End Child Summer Hunger

Key decision makers recently introduced three bills that could make the difference between kids continuing to go to bed hungry when school’s out and kids having the food they need to learn, grow, and thrive this and every summer.

June 28, 2021 | By Mya Price, Manager, Commodity and Federal Nutrition Programs

Zaniyaa smiles ear to ear with watermelon in hand received at a mobile food pantry. “I’m so excited to eat watermelon! It’s my favorite summer snack.”

Fact: Our nation’s child hunger crisis is not letting up any time soon.

Feeding America estimates that 13 million kids may face food insecurity this year due to the pandemic’s economic shock. Kids of color and kids in rural areas are being especially hit hard.

Another fact: Our lawmakers have a window of opportunity to ensure no child goes without enough to eat, especially during the summer months and other out-of-school times when school meals aren’t available.

Key decision makers recently introduced three bills that could make the difference between kids continuing to go to bed hungry when school’s out and kids having the food they need to learn, grow, and thrive this and every summer. Read below about what’s included in the bills and how they would change the reality of child summer hunger.

 

Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2021 (S.2005)

What’s Included – This bill was introduced by Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The legislation includes provisions to:

  • Allow kids to consume meals away from summer meals sites through innovative programmatic methods such as mobile, grab-and-go, and backpack meal programs.
  • Authorize the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) program, which would provide children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals with funds to supplement the loss of school meal assistance during out-of-school times.

Key Impacts – If passed, the bill would fight child summer hunger by:

  • Allowing summer meals sponsors to expand their programming into hard-to-reach areas, including rural communities.
  • Allowing summer meals providers to feed kids using community-specific, alternative approaches instead of one-size-fits-all methods.
  • Providing support to eligible families to expand their household food budgets during times when school meals aren’t available.

 

Stop Child Hunger Act of 2021 (S.1831/H.R.3519)

What’s Included – This bill was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Representative Mike Levin (D-CA), and Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT). The legislation includes provisions to:

  • Make the Summer EBT pilot a permanent, nationwide program that would provide eligible families with children grocery support to make up for the loss of school meals during the summer months and other periods when schools are closed.

Key Impacts – If passed, the bill would fight child summer hunger by:

  • Ensuring that all kids have full plates even when they can’t rely on accessing school breakfast and lunch.

Learn More – Stop Child Hunger Act of 2021 fact sheet

 

Summer Meals Act of 2021 ​(S.1170/H.R.783)

What’s Included – This bill was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Representative Don Young (R-AK), and Representative John Larson (D-WA). The legislation includes provisions to:

  • Lower the area eligibility threshold to allow more communities to be eligible for summer meals programs.
  • Streamline operations and reduce the paperwork burden for summer meals sponsors by allowing sponsors to operate one feeding program year-round instead of being forced to switch between programs.
  • Provide transportation grants to help more kids reach summer meals sites.
  • Give summer meals sites the option to serve up to three meals or two meals and a snack to children attending evening enrichment programs during the school year and summer months.
  • Allow summer meals sponsors to serve meals to children during emergencies or disasters.

Key Impacts If passed, the bill would fight child summer hunger by:

  • Providing flexibilities and resources that will make it easier for kids to access summer meals no matter where they live.
  • Removing red tape that makes it difficult for summer meals providers to serve meals.

Learn More – Summer Meals Act of 2021 fact sheet

 

We can ensure the introduced bills don’t just sit on the table – we can use our voices to make sure the proposals are brought to life to help fight child summer hunger. Using our action alert, take one minute to send Congress a message: invest in bills at play that will help ensure the summer months aren’t hungry months. Also, learn more about how we can end child summer hunger for good through Child Nutrition Reauthorization or forthcoming economic recovery legislation.

 

Key decision makers recently introduced 3 bills that could make the difference b/t kids going to bed hungry & having enough to eat this & every summer. @hunger dives into what the bills will do — & how you can fight for them. bit.ly/2ThQzS6