Kuster Urges Immediate Action To Extend School Meal Waivers for Students in NH During Nutrition Subcommittee Hearing
Washington, June 8, 2022
**The full Subcommittee hearing is available HERE**
**Kuster’s full remarks are available HERE**
Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), ahead of the expiration of school meal waivers created in response to COVID-19, spoke in favor of extending these waivers for students to ensure no child goes hungry. During the Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee hearing entitled, “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on SNAP,” Rep. Kuster highlighted the cost of letting these waivers expire and the painful and abrupt impact on students and families.
According to research compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools in low-income areas that already participate in universal school meal programs save 67 cents for every lunch and 58 cents for every breakfast served, thanks to savings on food, labor, and administrative support. Universal school meal programs are also associated with public health system savings as they address food insecurity and can help families avoid mental health issues, diabetes, obesity, and impaired cognitive development through reliable access to school meals.
“No child can learn when they are hungry. We are approaching a cliff: at the end of this month, school meal waivers created to offset the impact of COVID-19 on child hunger will expire, leaving students and families without this support,” said Rep. Kuster. “Although they are not directly under the umbrella of SNAP, allowing these waivers to expire without taking action will have a detrimental impact on students facing food insecurity. But, it does not have to happen that way. We have been at the ready to advance a reasonable extension in the House and I hope the Senate will get on board to support our families before we reach that cliff.”
Rep. Kuster is a strong advocate for New Hampshire families and students facing food insecurity. She is a cosponsor of the Keeping School Meals Flexible Act, a bill that would extend the existing meal waivers for one more school year as vulnerable families continue to re-establish their financial security. A member of the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee, she introduced the Streamlining Nutrition Assistance Paperwork Act to make permanent a flexibility set up by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during the pandemic that will help reduce a layer of bureaucracy surrounding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications.