Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 29, 2022)—This week, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Education & Labor Committee passed the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act, which would reauthorize and strengthen federal child nutrition programs. National PTA President Anna King issued the following statement on the bill:
“National PTA and PTA members nationwide have long advocated to ensure all children have access to critical nutritious food options. Healthy children learn better and are more productive—both in and out of the classroom—and providing all of our nation’s youth with healthy food options and nutrition education is key to their long-term health, well-being and success. Our association applauds the House Education & Labor Committee for passing the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act and moving it onto the full House of Representatives for consideration. Reauthorization of federal child nutrition programs is long overdue, and school districts across the nation have served all students to the best of their ability amidst the pandemic. This bill is a significant step in addressing and ending child hunger, providing much needed resources to school nutrition departments, and improving the health of our nation’s youth.
“The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act would:
- Provide to families:
- An ability to qualify for free school meals if the family already participates in Medicaid;
- A permanent Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) program that would offer $75 per month per child to cover the cost of food over the summer months when children lose access to free or reduced-price school meals; and
- An expanded eligibility of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program to cover children up to age 6.
- Provide to school districts:
- Increased reimbursement rate by 10 cents per lunch served in the National School Lunch Program;
- Support in obtaining food products or items from their local agricultural community and partners in the School Breakfast Program;
- Grant opportunities for farm to school programs, kitchen equipment upgrades, infrastructure improvements and staff training, especially as a means to support cooking from scratch and the use of salad bars in school meal programs;
- Incentives to include mental health promotion and education in school wellness policies; and
- Best practices for ensuring adequate time for children to eat and play.
- Provide to states:
- An option to implement the Community Eligibility Provision statewide so that all students in that state may be served by child nutrition programs.
- Provide to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Nationwide waiver authority in the event of a national emergency, such as COVID-19.
“PTA members across the country have played a critical role in advocating for child nutrition reauthorization, including during our recent Hill Day Experience in June 2022. PTA members and families have also played an important role in helping schools implement improved meal and snack offerings and address food insecurity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our association urges Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner and take swift action to pass the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act to ensure the health and well-being of all of our nation’s students.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.