Following Bipartisan Casey-Led Letter, USDA Reverses Position and Agrees to Extend Support for Children Facing Food Insecurity

As COVID-19 Exacerbates Hunger and Food Insecurity, Approx. 1.7 Million Pennsylvanians Are Food Insecure

Following Bipartisan Casey-Led Letter, USDA Reverses Position and Agrees to Extend Support for Children Facing Food Insecurity

Washington, D.C. – Following a bipartisan letter led by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA has agreed to extend school meal waivers to support children facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. Senator Casey and members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation urged Secretary Perdue to immediately implement all school meal flexibilities nationwide to provide meal services to families through the 2020-21 school year. USDA has agreed to extend additional nutrition assistance to families and children facing financial hardship through the end of the 2020 calendar year. There are approximately 1.7 million people facing food insecurity in Pennsylvania.

U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), Madeleine Dean (D-PA-4), Susan Wild (D-PA-7), Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-5), Conor Lamb (D-PA-17), Dwight Evans (D-PA-3), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-6), Brendan Boyle (D-PA-2) and Mike Doyle (D-PA-18) signed on to the letter.

“As families continue to face this public health and economic crisis, it is essential that we provide much needed certainty for schools and providers to be able to ensure that children can access the healthy food they need. With the countless uncertainties that children are now facing, they should never have to face with the uncertainty of not knowing where or how they will receive their next meal,” the Members of Congress wrote in the letter.

In their letter, the Members of Congress requested that the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) operate during the 2020-21 school year and that USDA waive the Afterschool Educational or Enrichment Activity Requirement for the Afterschool Meal and Snack Programs available through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through the 2020-21 school year.

Read the letter to Secretary Perdue here.