The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many, but school aged children have been especially impacted through school closings, a transition to virtual learning and for many, a disruption in how they eat.
Millions of children from across the country rely on schools to provide the healthy, nutritious foods they need to thrive. While school food service providers have done all they can to keep kids fed, they need help! We need to do something to make sure that children who have been impacted by the pandemic continue to have access to nutritious food this school year.
We need to tell Congress to act now!
To ensure that children are able to reach their full potential, Congress should allow all enrolled children to receive free meals this school year. Free meals for all children would allow school food service programs to focus on keeping kids fed instead of filling out paperwork – and help their programs remain afloat. Meanwhile Congress needs to extend the electronic benefits that help families purchase healthy foods through the school year to close the gap. These actions would benefit ALL CHILDREN from across the country who need our help now more than ever.
Sign the petition today to urge Congress to take action on child nutrition today!
I am writing to express my concern on how the ongoing pandemic is affecting how schools and communities are providing necessary meals to children. School food service programs are playing a central role feeding communities and we must do more to support them through the summer and next school year. As families struggle to afford food, schools are struggling to meet the demand. As Congress considers the next COVID-recovery bill, I ask that you support extending Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) and provide free meals to all children this school year.
Congress created P-EBT in response to schools closing across the country due to COVID. P-EBT allows families to purchase the foods that meet their child's needs and can reduce the number of trips outside the home. However, P-EBT is only authorized through the end of this previous school year. In addition, many schools may not open on time or may have a modified schedule that would make it difficult for children to eat onsite at school. P-EBT should be extended through the school year to help close any gaps in meals. Finally, P-EBT should be expanded to also include children under the age of six and U.S. territories that are not currently eligible for P-EBT.
Congress should help ease the administrative burden for school food service programs and help ensure the programs remain fiscally solvent by providing meals at no cost for all enrolled students. Supporting legislation like the Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act, that provides free school meals to all children, ensures no child will go hungry; helps program finances as they recover from losses from the pandemic; mitigates the time and resources needed to process all the new applications; and, when coupled with a non-congregate feeding waiver, gives school food service authorities the flexibility they need to keep kids fed as they transition into an uncertain school year.
Children need your help now more than ever. I am counting on you to support and pass a new COVID-recovery bill sooner rather than later that includes expanding P-EBT and provides free school meals to all children this school year. Our children are depending on you.