WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2020 – Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott today introduced the Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act, legislation to provide universal meals this school year for all children enrolled in school. This bill would provide free breakfast and lunch to students regardless of their family’s income level, negating the need to apply for or verify eligibility for school food programs and making it easier for programs to continue to feed children no matter what the new school day structure looks like.
The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, issued the following statement in support of the bill:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many, but school-aged children have been especially impacted by school closings, the transition to virtual learning and, for many, a disruption in how they eat. Millions of children nationwide rely on schools for healthy, nutritious meals. This bill provides necessary relief for children who through no fault of their own are not getting the healthy meals they need and deserve because of the pandemic.
“With the economic downturn due to the pandemic, one in four children are food insecure and Black and Hispanic households are twice as likely as white families to be food insecure. Universal meals are a strong tool to keep children from going hungry, remove financial burdens for families during a time of economic uncertainty, help children who might be on the edge of eligibility access nutritious meals and mitigate the shame some students face in their school cafeteria. Additionally, this bill would help school food service programs get back on their feet.
“Equitable access to healthy meals is more important than ever given these uncertain times. The legislation ensures that no child falls through the cracks. Chairman Scott has long been a champion for child nutrition in our country, and we urge swift passage of the Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act.”