Gov. warns children to lose hot meals with end of Child Nutrition Waiver extension

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Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 11:34 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has warned about 10 million food-insecure children will lose access to two guaranteed hot meals per school day with the end of the extension on Child Nutrition Waivers.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Wednesday, June 8, she sent a letter to urge Congressional leaders to extend federal Child Nutrition Waivers that give schools more flexibility and resources to feed students all year long. She said the waivers are set to expire at the end of June.

“The statistics are clear: without an extension of these waivers, more Kansas kids are going to go hungry, hurting their ability to succeed both in and out of the classroom,” Gov. Kelly wrote. “If we want our students to excel, we need to start by ensuring that they have reliable access to nutritional meals.”

Kelly said the federal Child Nutrition Waivers allow students guaranteed access to meals throughout the year. Since they were established by Congress in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said the waivers have provided school meals at no additional cost to 30 million students nationwide.

If the waivers are allowed to expire, the Governor warned that almost 10 million of those students would lose access to a guaranteed source of food.

According to Feeding America, more than 120,000 Kansas students are food insecure - yet 40% do not traditionally meet requirements for federal school nutrition programs.

Kelly noted that the waivers ensure Kansas children - regardless of their family’s ability to pay - can receive at least two hot meals a day.

Kelly also emphasized the need to extend the Seamless Summer Option Waiver in particular.

“With the expiration of this waiver, some school districts will no longer be able to serve summer meals to students. The timing of this expiration is concerning because we know that the hunger crisis gets worse over summer months when children are not in school.”

To read the full letter Gov. Kelly sent to Congressional leaders, click HERE.

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