United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is tackling the problem of hunger head on with new legislation aimed at keeping school children fed.
Through COVID-19 waivers, the United States Department of Agriculture provides free school meals through the 2021-2022 school year, but due to the growth of food insecurity for many Americans, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed legislation which would make the waiver permanent.
The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 would provide free breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack to all school children, regardless of income. Gillibrand said turning the waiver into law will help to address the hunger crises in this country.
“We have to go further. The Hunger crisis existed long before COVID hit,” she said. “Prior to the pandemic, one in six New York children faced food insecurity. And from 2014 to 2018. We saw school participation rates and universal school meals program. more than doubled nationwide. We have seen that providing universal school meals makes an incredible difference. Now is the time to take bold action to end child hunger and to make universal school meals a permanent reality.”
Gillibrand said there is widespread Democratic support for the bill, whose other facets include the reimbursement to schools of all delinquent school meal debt, strengthening and expanding the Child and Adult Care Food Program and making all communities eligible for the Summer Food Service Program, providing children access to healthy meals during the summer months.