U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) / April 16, 2021
April 16, 2021
Ensures Children Maintain Access to Nutritious Meals When School is Out
Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced S.1170, the Summer Meals Act, legislation to expand summer meal programs across the country to ensure children maintain access to nutritious meals when school is out. The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent switch to remote learning, exacerbated the challenges that food insecure students face when schools are closed. The bill would improve the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program, which provides low-income children — who would normally receive free or reduced lunch during the school year — with nutritious meals during the summer, after school, and when school is closed for vacations or emergencies. The bill would expand eligibility and participation for summer meal programs, facilitate program administration, and improve access to these critical programs in hard to reach areas, including rural and underserved communities.
Juneau School District 21st Century Community Learning Center summer program
“Learning disruptions caused by the pandemic have deepened the hunger crisis for vulnerable children who rely on school meals to keep from going hungry. When schools are out for the summer, we must guarantee that food insecure students maintain access to nutritious food,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This legislation will provide more children with a reliable source of meals when schools are closed and deliver critical resources to help schools and nonprofits to administer these programs. With summer quickly approaching, I urge my colleagues to join Senator Murkowski and I to pass this important legislation so that every student has the opportunity to grow healthy and strong.”
“Far too many children in Alaska and across the country go hungry each and every day. Meals served at school and in afterschool or summer programs are sometimes the only meals they can rely on,” said Senator Murkowski. “We need to make it easier for schools and non-profits to feed children when schools are not in session—regardless of whether it’s summer vacation, a natural disaster, or a pandemic that keeps kids out of school. Put simply, our bill will reduce barriers that prevent hungry kids from being fed. I look forward to working with Senator Gillibrand and my Senate colleagues to include the Summer Meals Act in the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.”