LANGHORNE, PA—Following a bipartisan effort, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a decision toextend school meal waivers to support children facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. The announcement from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue comes following a bipartisan letter from members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation urging 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.

“I am pleased to see the USDA has decided that they will extend school meal waivers and additional nutrition assistance. Making sure that our families and children have access to nutritious meals is so important for the success of our community and our Commonwealth,” said Fitzpatrick. “Food insecurity is unacceptable, especially during a global pandemic. No one should go hungry in the United States, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to work towards food security for all Americans.”

U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Susan Wild (PA-07), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Conor Lamb (PA-17), Mike Doyle (PA-18), and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) 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 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.

Read the announcement from USDA here