Senators introduce a bipartisan bill that would help social service agencies extend access to summer federal child nutrition programs during the summer months to disadvantaged children and youth who might otherwise go hungry.
The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act, S.1966, would provide meals for children who receive free or reduced-priced lunch at their school cafeteria, said bill co-sponsor Sherrod Brown (D-OH). It is co-sponsored by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR).
“Summer break shouldn’t mean a break from good nutrition,” said Brown. “Summer meal programs provide the nutrition assistance for children that they would normally receive in school, ensuring their healthy development and easing the burden on their families.”
The bill would authorize summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to supplement existing summer nutrition assistance programs, and give states the option of providing eligible families with up to $30 per summer month per child to purchase eligible food items.
Last year, more than 3.8 million meals were served around Ohio in the summer months through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). While there are more than 1,500 SFSP sites across Ohio this summer, 16 percent of children from low-income families in the U.S. live in communities that are unable to operate an open summer meals site. The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act would expand this program’s reach by allowing states to provide summer meals without a centralized feeding site.