For the editor:
Without quick action from Congress, children in Michigan risk losing access to meals this summer and next school year.
Indeed, the essential child nutrition waivers will soon expire and so far Congress has not authorized the USDA to extend them.
These waivers are an important tool that allows schools and community organizations to serve meals in a way that best suits their communities while addressing current pandemic-related challenges, such as supply chain disruptions. , rising food prices and staff shortages.
But in a few months, meal plans will be turned upside down again.
Without waiver flexibility, many schools will not be able to open summer meal sites. Children in rural communities will be particularly at risk when meal providers are no longer allowed to meet children where they are by reinventing the traditional summer meal service.
School food budgets, already hit by rising food costs, will go further into the red due to lower reimbursements. Schools will also face financial penalties for not meeting federal nutrition requirements if certain products are unavailable due to supply chain disruptions.
The bipartisan efforts behind the Support Kids Not Red Tape Act of 2022 are a step in the right direction, but until the waivers are extended, much more needs to be done. Congress and the White House must work together to resolve this issue. Senators Stabenow and Peters, make sure schools have the tools they need to feed Michigan’s children.