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LETTER: Extend school lunch waivers through summer

Eleni Towns
No Kid Hungry
Summer lunch program signs are modified with duct tape to announce the Coronanvirus emergency school lunch program at Dallastown High School Monday, March 16, 2020. The school district is offering grab-n-go meals to students weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the emergency. Bill Kalina photo

The coronavirus has caused both a catastrophic health crisis and an economic one, pushing thousands of families into poverty and hunger here in Pennsylvania. 

Even in this crisis, we’ve been able to make sure children are still fed. Nationwide child nutrition waivers issued by the USDA gave school districts and community groups across our great state the ability to reach kids by allowing them to package meals for families to pick up, or for meals to be dropped off at a child’s home. Kids were fed.

More:Schools scramble to feed students after coronavirus closures

More:Waiver allows all Pa. schools to provide free meals to children during coronavirus crisis

Now these nationwide waivers are set to expire at the end of June, at the height of summer hunger. Without the flexibilities these waivers provide, schools and community organizations will not be able to reach hungry kids with the food they need this summer. 

I hope our representatives in Congress will help us feed kids this summer by urging the USDA to extend all nationwide child nutrition waivers through Sept. 30. The road to economic recovery begins with families in Pennsylvania having the food they need for kids to thrive.

— Eleni Towns is the associate director of No Kid Hungry.