Although President Joe Biden signed the extension of child nutrition waivers that would expire last June, it came at a late time – causing many of these programs to miss out on the late notice. As a result, many of these programs were affected.
An FRAC report states that only 1.38 million children received summer lunch previously, but the nutrition waiver helped many families to bring home meals for their children. The waiver allowed program operators to bundle to-go meals and open meal sites to any communities
However, the expiring deadline loomed in – causing an extension that came too late. Many were unaware due to the late notice, and the challenges of supply chain and staff shortages soon flooded these summer programs.
Senior VP of No Kid Hungry campaign, Lisa Davis, was angry that they allowed this waiver to expire, as it had helped several children to receive meals. As a result, many advocates fear they won’t be able to serve those in need.
This decline had already begun in the previous years, with certain states facing major declines. They note these declines were due to transportation issues, lack of awareness, and eligibility that limits participation.
Additionally, some children live in rural or isolated communities that are much harder to reach, despite program and state efforts to build infrastructure to remedy the issue.
However, because of the Omnibus bill, certain rural communities will still be able to receive these grab and go meals. In addition, the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program will be established next year to provide $40 per child for grocery benefits.
However, Davis argues that efforts by summer meal programs will be different from before. She wants the Congress to extend this bill to be applicable for all communities, she notes many parents will be stressed out trying to balance their finances to provide their needs.
Source: NBC News