83% of eligible children are unable to access summer meal sites during the summertime. Congress is working to help these children with meaningful policy changes and investments in closing the summer meal gap.
Summer is the hungriest time of the year for low income children, and we need more options to reach children who can’t access summer meal sites, including strengthening and streamlining summer and afterschool programs and making it easier to serve children in rural and hard to reach communities.
These marker bills establish a foundation of ideas and practical policy solutions as the Senate Agriculture Committee develops their approach to Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
Food Bank of the Rockies and Feeding America believe we can best do so by:
- streamlining summer and afterschool meal programs to reduce administrative burdens on site providers and expand program eligibility,
- allowing flexibility for off-site consumption of meals,
- and establishing a summer grocery card for children that cannot access sites.
Several bills have been introduced in the Senate to address the summer meal gap:
- Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 (S.1918): Introduced by John Boozman (R-AR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and John Hoeven (R-ND)
- Summer Meals Act of 2019 (S.1908): Introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2019 (S.1941): Introduced by Patty Murray (D-WA)
In the House, legislation to strengthen and streamline summer meal sites as well as legislation to provide funding for a nationwide summer grocery card program has been introduced. Feeding America and Food Bank of the Rockies support these bills and believe they would help address the summer meal gap. We also support the introduction of legislation to allow flexibility for off-site meal consumption options in the summertime to complement priorities in these other important bills, although at this time a companion bill has not been introduced for the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act.
- Summer Meals Act of 2019, H.R. 2818: Introduced by Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Don Young (R-AK), companion bill to S. 1908
- Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2019, H.R. 3378: Introduced by Susan Davis (D-CA), companion bill to S. 1941
We strongly endorse all of these summer bills and continue to encourage you to reach out to your legislators and ask them to support these bills. They are an important part of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process. A strong showing of support helps ensure improvements to summer meal programs are a priority in legislation that moves forward.
As part of the Feeding America network, we join with more than 200 food banks across the country to advocate for programs that increase opportunity and maintain a bipartisan commitement to protect hungry men, women and children.
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Contact Your Members of Congress
Contact Congress through Feeding America’s hotline:
- Call the advocacy hotline at (888) 398-8702
- Listen to the pre-recorded message and enter your zip code when prompted.
- Connect to your Representative first.
- Once you are connected to your Representative, state that you are a constituent and give your name and your hometown. Be sure to give the name of the food bank or local agency you are affiliated with as well.
- Let them know why you are calling and deliver your message.
- Dial back in to make sure you talk to both of your Senators and your Representative.
- Recruit others by spreading the word through your social media channels and share our posts for call-in day so others can help too.
Thank you for reaching out with us!