WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Chairwoman of the Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations Subcommittee, voted to pass the Keep Kids Fed Act, legislation to ensure schools can continue providing meals for students as the academic year comes to an end. The bill would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide additional assistance to child nutrition programs by reimbursing them at a higher rate as they continue to serve healthy meals.
“School meals and summer food services are some of the best tools we have to combat child hunger, and ensure students have access to healthy food. With expiration dates on flexibilities for food programs quickly approaching, and schools still struggling to combat supply chain disruptions, our efforts to combat the scourge of child hunger could be severely undermined,” said Chairwoman Hayes. “I have urged Congressional leadership for months to take action to rectify this issue and keep children fed and healthy. I thank nutrition advocates who have worked tirelessly to elevate this critical issue.”
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Congress provided USDA with key flexibilities to help child nutrition programs continue serving children during the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief has helped feed hungry students during school closures, virtual learning, and social distancing that disrupted traditional meal service. Important flexibilities provided under FFCRA were set to expire on June 30, 2022, potentially stripping millions of students access to healthy meals.
The Keep Kids Fed Act would:
- Provide nationwide waiver authority for school meal flexibilities that do not increase costs;
- Allow waivers related to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) during the summer months;
- Increase reimbursement rates for the 2022-2023 school year by an additional 15 cents per breakfast and 40 cents per lunch; and
- Provide enhanced support to the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP).