The House of Representatives has passed the Build Back Better Act, a critical next step in the right direction toward addressing the alarming rates of childhood hunger and poverty in this country. The critical child nutrition provisions within the bill are expected to
expand the number of schools that would be able to offer free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision;
give states the option to implement the Community Eligibility Provision statewide;
provide $30 million for school kitchen equipment;
provide $250 million for a Healthy School Meal Incentives demonstration project;
extend the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program nationwide for students who receive free or reduced-price school meals; and
allow states, as well as Indian Tribal Organizations, that participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to provide Summer EBT.
Studies show school meals can help reduce child hunger and improve students’ academic achievement. Community eligibility offers an important opportunity for schools to respond to the increased nutritional needs among their students and overcome the educational disruptions experienced by millions of children due to the pandemic. Summer EBT complements the community eligibility expansion, helping close the hunger gap that millions of children experience during summer break when they lose access to school meals. Evaluations of the Summer EBT demonstration projects found that the program improved nutrition and reduced food insecurity.
This will make a big difference in the lives of the 1 in 10 children in the Central Rappahannock Region who face hunger. Please continue to advocate for those in our community who benefit from these programs.