A new federal bill would make it easier for children to have access to summer meals for free.
Arkansas U.S. Senator, John Boozman (R) and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D) have introduced a new bill to better serve children in need of food during summer months.
The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 makes it easier for children from low-income families obtain meals and snacks during summer.
The bill recognizes some communities have one centralized location where students go to eat and additional sites would open, which would allow children in urban, suburban and rural areas to obtain meals more easily.
As of this year, when inclement weather happens children, especially in rural areas, aren’t able to obtain the food.
“The one-size-fits-all approach is not meeting the needs of Arkansas children,” Boozman said. “We need a summer meals program that works for all areas… .”
Less than 20 percent of the children who participate in similar programs during the school year are able to obtain the meals. Many children who rely on the summer meals go hungry during summer due to inaccessability, Boozman said.
The bill aims to achieve this by giving states the flexibility to choose what makes the most sense in their communities to alleviate summer hunger for children, according to Boozman.
Boozman said the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act would help alleviate summer hunger by expanding access to summer EBT cards through SNAP, and by providing flexibility to allow children to take meals home where a summer program is not an option.
Agencies including Feeding America, Share Our Strength, Alliance to End Hunger, Bread for the World, United Way Worldwide, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, First Focus Campaign for Children and the Congressional Hunger Center, stated they are in support of the bill.