The Urban School Food Alliance shares in the frustration and disappointment with other advocacy groups that Congress neglected, through the omnibus, to include the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to extend the waivers needed to help children and families as they try to rebuild their lives during and after this pandemic. As schools continued to open and close, children were on a rollercoaster of food insecure situations. Without the waivers, students will have to stay at a site for 20 minutes to access summer meals, they will be shouldering the burden of their family income in order to access food at schools, and school meal program operators are at risk of financial penalties for not meeting all the exact federal meal requirements while struggling with severe supply chain shortages. We have the safest, most plentiful food supply in the world and we have decided not to allow our nation’s children to have easy access to this basic human right. This is beyond reprehensible. Our ranchers, farmers, and producers are ready and able to provide healthy, local foods to our students, but we need these waivers one more year to put it all back together – back to normal.
The Alliance today joined with other national organizations in issuing a statement calling on Congress to include child nutrition waiver authority through the 2022-2023 school year in the omnibus bill before its final passage.