Representative Rick Larsen of Washington’s 2nd District, along with Alaska’s Don Young, is sponsoring the Summer Meals Act of 2014, a bill that will help expand current programs that provide nutritious meals for children throughout the summer. During the summer, families are unable to rely on the free and reduced lunch programs they use during the school year.
Many local governments and community-based organizations receive reimbursement from the federal government to provide meals to children in need. However, due to federal regulations, it can be challenging to follow the numerous policies. The Summer Meals Act of 2014 aims to alleviate logistical barriers that organizations face in providing meals to children who participate in their educational and enrichment programs. Some of these measures include:
- Expanding eligibility standards for organizations receiving aid. Currently, programs must be located in areas where at least 50% of resident children are eligible for free or reduced lunch to receive federal subsidies. The Summer Meals Act expands this to communities in which 40% of resident children qualify.
- Reducing paperwork burden and red tape. Currently, operating a subsidized meal program requires multiple applications and redundant procedures. The Summer Meals Act simplifies this process by merging procedures into one form.
- Improve access for underserved and hard-to-reach communities. Currently, meals must be served at a fixed, consistent location. The Summer Meals Act would provide needed flexibility by including mobile meal trucks and finding innovative ways to transport highly nutritious foods to distant and rural sites.
This legislation is a thoughtful response to the difficulties that charitable organizations face in meeting the nutrition needs of children across the United States. Guaranteeing food security for all children, regardless of family income ensures that educational achievement and lifelong health is an attainable reality in every community.
Think this legislation sounds like a good idea? Show your support for the Summer Meals Act by adding your name to our petition.