Congress on Friday passed a bill to keep the expanded, pandemic-era distribution of free meals for all college students this summer.
Final passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act in the U.S. House came less than a week before rule changes for infant nutrition programs expire on June 30.
“Our action today averts a dangerous hunger cliff: ensuring universal free meals for all children through this summer, while helping schools keep supply chain issues and rising costs for the upcoming school year,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement.
The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.
The legislation aims to extend rules that were passed shortly after COVID-19 disrupted schools nationwide so that summer meal distribution sites can operate in any community that has them. need, rather than where there is a high concentration of low-income children, and offer to go to meals.
The rules that allowed all students to receive free meals at school, regardless of family income level, are still due to expire before the next school year.
A bipartisan agreement that was reached this week in the Senate would have allowed children eligible for the discounted lunch to eat for free in the next school year, but that provision was dropped from the final agreement.
Supporters said the action in Congress will bring relief to families, but they are disappointed that discounted children are not getting free meals as families grapple with soaring food prices and l ‘essence. They also say there will be fewer dine-in sites this summer due to delayed legislation.
“Everything goes up, food, gas, housing. Those families who are in that category often earn a little too much money that they can’t get help from different programs, now school meals, but they don’t earn enough to cover basic necessities, so we’re putting these families in a terrible position,” said Lisa Davis, senior vice president of Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.