State Legislators Ask Feds to Extend Waivers to Keep School Meal Sites Operating

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Area state legislators are calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take steps to ensure children’s meal sites continue operating throughout the upcoming school year.

The letter, sent to Brandon Lipps, deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service, asks for an extension of waivers previously granted to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The waivers allow school meal sites serving breakfast and lunch to children during the pandemic to greatly expand their reach to more children in the community.

“Before the pandemic, far too many residents in our state were facing food insecurity—one in 10 children. As we confront this public health emergency and the resulting record unemployment, the problem is growing exponentially, as the rates of childhood food insecurity in our state have nearly doubled to 1 in 5 households with children,” part of the letter reads.

Locally, the letter was signed by Sens. Diana DiZoglio and Barry Finegold and Reps. Linda Dean Campbell, Andy X. Vargas, Christina Minicucci, Frank A. Moran and Marcos Devers.

They cited the different learning models—online, in-person or a combination of both—and the possibility of school closures requires meal programs to “have flexibility to react and innovate in all potential scenarios.”

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