WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (D-Del.) cosponsored the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act, legislation which would extend school meal flexibilities, a range of policies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that allow schools to provide additional meals and stand up summer meal programs.
In Delaware, school meal flexibilities have been crucial in feeding children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Delaware children and 1 in 9 Delawareans face hunger. The policy of school meal flexibilities—first implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic—has more than tripled the number of Summer Food Service Program meals for Delaware students from 800,000 meals in Summer 2019 to 3,000,000 meals in Summer 2020,according to the Delaware Department of Education.
“Right now, 13 million children in the U.S. have to worry about where they will get their next meal,” said Senator Carper. “I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to ensure that when school is out during the summer, children in the First State and across the nation can count on a good meal for breakfast and lunch. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to get this bill across the finish line.”
“We need to dedicate resources to make sure that no child goes hungry this summer or the next school year,” said Senator Coons. “Delaware students have faced many challenges through two years of a pandemic, and the last thing they should have to worry about is their next meal. That’s why I’m working with my colleagues in Congress to maintain these critical lifelines for Delaware families.”
The current school meal flexibilities are set to expire on June 30, 2022. The Support Kids Not Red Tape Act would extend these flexibilities through September 2023 and also help schools transition back to normal meal operations by October 1, 2023.
The bipartisan bill was led by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). In addition to Senators Carper, Coons, Stabenow, and Murkowski, the bill was cosponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Edward Markey (D-Mass), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Margaret Hassan (D-N.H.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Angus King (I-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
The text of the bill is available here.