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Advocacy Works! USDA Extends Waivers for Free Meals for Kids

Yesterday, USDA announced that all waivers that help schools and community based organizations provide free meals for kids will be extended through December 31. These waivers are crucial for helping families that have relied on these meals to stretch limited food budgets so that kids can have the fuel they need to focus on learning and be active and healthy.

This is also cause to celebrate the fact that advocacy works! This was a hard-fought victory, the result of pressure from individuals, community based organizations, and local, state, and Congressional elected officials working together in bipartisanship. Thanks to this effort, schools can continue to serve meals to all kids in need without added red tape.

We applaud this decision from USDA: a recent study shows that 16.5% of families with children reported not having enough food to eat back in June, and this was especially so for families of color (nearly a third of Black households with children and nearly a quarter of Hispanic households with children report not having enough food.) These waivers make it possible for every school district to continue to provide free meals to all children under the age of 18, but staffing cuts and meal distribution schedules still pose significant barriers to participation for families. SNAP provides food assistance with flexibility, used when the family shops for groceries. We must continue the momentum to boost SNAP and other essential services: Congress returns to work next week after Labor Day and is expected to get back to work, negotiating and passing an appropriations package before the end of the month. We must continue to urge the Senate to resume talks for a COVID-19 relief package, one that includes critically needed boosts to SNAP benefits and other essential needs for housing and cash assistance.

There’s work to be done–let’s get to it!

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