Davis Introduces Bipartisan Operation Feed Our Kids Act to Continue Free Meals for Kids Through the 2021 School Year
H.R. 8325 requires the USDA to extend the free school meal programs, which are scheduled to expire at the end of December, through the end of the 2021 school year
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) yesterday introduced H.R. 8325, the bipartisan Operation Feed Our Kids Act, which requires the USDA to extend the school meal waivers through the end of the 2021 school year. The waiver authority lapses on September 30, 2020 and allows schools the option to continue to utilize the summer meals programs like the Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) and the Summer Seamless Option (SSO), throughout the 2020-2021 school year in order to serve all children.
Original co-sponsors of H.R. 8325 are Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Jim Costa (D-CA). Also co-sponsoring are Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), John B. Larson (D-CT), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA).
“I represent too many kids who don’t know where their next meal may come from,” said Rep. Davis. “The ‘Operation Feed Our Kids Act’ is so desperately needed to give our schools, families and school nutrition professionals certainty during this pandemic. USDA’s authority to extend the school meal program waivers lapses in a matter of days. We must extend these through the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year and provide necessary funding to ensure that kids have access to consistent and much-needed healthy meals. Congress must pass this legislation now, and not use our kids as political bargaining chips.”
“For so many children in Central Virginia, school meals provide one of their only reliable sources of nutrition. To make sure these students stay healthy and strong, we need to give our schools additional certainty that meal pattern requirements will be waived for the duration of the current school year,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to stand alongside my colleague Congressman Davis in introducing this commonsense legislation, which would reduce red tape and allow schools to have the flexibility they need to keep our students fed. No child should go hungry, and during this moment of uncertainty, we must do everything on our power to protect and expand access to school lunch and breakfast programs.”
“The School Nutrition Association strongly supports H.R. 8325, which ensures schools can continue to safely serve healthy school meals through the duration of this pandemic,” said School Nutrition Association President Reggie Ross, SNS. “School nutrition professionals have worked tirelessly to ensure students receive the nutrition they need to succeed, whether they are learning in school or at home. This bill provides school meal programs the necessary waiver extensions and funding to combat childhood hunger and support urgent needs in their communities through the end of the school year.”
“Child hunger is an imminently solvable problem,” says Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. “Part of that solution is the extension of USDA’s child nutrition waivers. Extending these waivers through the academic year will allow schools and community groups to adequately plan and prepare their meal programs and continue reaching the unprecedented number of kids in need during this pandemic.”
H.R. 8325, the Operation Feed Our Kids Act:
Rep. Davis is introducing the Operation Feed Our Kids Act as a standalone bill and as a bipartisan amendment to the Continuing Resolution, which is the government funding legislation for the next fiscal year. You can find the text of the bill here. You can find the text of the amendment here.