Sen. McConnell co-sponsors bipartisan bill to help reduce child hunger
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBKO) - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, joined Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in introducing The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act.
The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act would authorize the Department of Agriculture to establish two alternative options for program delivery for summer meals:
- Authorize summer meal providers to deliver to eligible children in rural and hard to reach communities, allowing for meal distribution flexibility if a delivery site is unexpectedly closed due to inclement weather or other conditions.
- Provide eligible households with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card each month over summer break to purchase eligible food items from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) approved retailers. In USDA pilot programs, summer EBT was shown to reduce child hunger by over 30 percent.
“Children in rural areas often face significant hurdles when trying to access school meals during the summer months, including irregular public transportation and long commutes to school. This problem has only become more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to this issue has proved insufficient for rural students who struggle with obstacles that those in urban areas might not,” said Senator McConnell. “The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act would give states the flexibility to provide summer meal delivery programs to children in hard-to-reach areas. This bill will bring effective, flexible reforms to existing school meal programs and deliver greater fairness to Kentucky’s most vulnerable children.”
“When I first took office as Agriculture Commissioner, I traveled the state and spoke with food banks and summer meal site operators about the bureaucratic rules and regulations that complicate serving meals to hungry kids during the summer months,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. “This bill will allow more flexibility for summer feeding programs to meet kids where they are. I applaud Leader McConnell for pushing this effort forward, for getting bureaucratic rules out of the way, and making sure that fewer Kentucky schoolchildren go hungry.”
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