RELEASE: Gottheimer-backed Bipartisan Bill to Extend Critical School Meal Programs this Summer Signed into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C — Less than one week before school meal provisions were set to expire, bipartisan legislation backed by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) — the Keep Kids Fed Act — passed through Congress and has now been signed into law. This legislation extends critical school meal related flexibilities that have prevented children in North Jersey and all over the country from going hungry during the summer and throughout the school year.
“We cannot let a single child go hungry. Over the summer, finding a reliable source of food can become more difficult for children, and throughout the school year it’s impossible for a child to succeed in school if they’re hungry. When the result would be scores of students starting their day with a sharper mind, stronger body, and better chance of a successful school day, there is no excuse to not support critical measures like this one,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “ I am proud to have voted for this bipartisan bill that will extend much needed resources for our children and take a critical step forward to help ensure they are fed.”
The bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act will:
- Extend eligibility for summer 2022 meal programs to serve all children for free and continue options like meal delivery and grab-and-go.
- Allow students with a family income at or below 185% of poverty level to qualify for free or reduced-cost meals for the 2022-23 school year.
- Increase the reimbursement rate for school lunch and school breakfast to help offset the cost of food and operating expenses. Schools will receive an additional 40 cents for each lunch and 15 cents for each breakfast served.
- Provide an additional 10 cents per meal or snack for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) daycares and home providers, and expand eligibility to more providers. When combined, these actions will help offset more costs for meal providers.
- Cut unnecessary and burdensome red-tape by extending meal pattern waivers for schools through the 2022-23 school year, to allow for flexibility given supply chain disruptions or shortages.
Gottheimer has been a strong proponent of schools in the Fifth District utilizing the federal National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program to ensure that no student goes hungry. Last December, Gottheimer provided North Jersey superintendents with ways that their schools can utilize federal investments to help feed North Jersey students and to lower the burden on municipal budgets.