Statement attributable to James D. Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2019 — The Food Research & Action Center strongly supports legislation that was introduced recently to ensure low-income children across the country have access to the nutrition they need during the summer months when they lose access to healthy school meals.
The Summer Meals Act of 2019 (S. 1908/H.R. 2818), introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA). These bills would: improve the area eligibility test by lowering it from 50 percent to 40 percent to allow more low-income communities to provide summer meals; allow nonprofit and local government agencies to provide meals year-round through the Summer Food Service Program; allow all sites to serve three meals; and provide grant funding to support efforts to reach underserved areas. S. 1908 includes an additional provision to support meal service in disaster situations.
The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act (S. 1941/H.R. 3378), introduced by Sen. Pat Murray (D-WA) and Susan Davis (D-CA), would provide families who have children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to help them obtain nutrition during the summer.
We commend the bills’ sponsors for their efforts to strengthen, protect, and expand access to the Summer Nutrition Programs and encourage Members of Congress to cosponsor these important bills. These programs are critical to combating childhood hunger and obesity, and so much more.
The Summer Nutrition Programs keep children safe, learning, and out of trouble. The meals help draw children into educational, enrichment, and recreational activities, which are important tools for combating summer learning loss, reducing juvenile crime and teen pregnancy, and supporting working parents. They also provide states with federal child nutrition funding that will create jobs and generate economic activity.
FRAC is facilitating a group of national organizations to identify opportunities to address summer hunger in a variety of circumstances and to ensure that children — even in hard to reach areas — have access to summer nutrition.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.