FRANKFORT, Ky. — Feeding Kentucky applauds the introduction of the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2021. This legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Mitch McConnell, takes a number of steps to address childhood hunger in the summer, such as allowing for the home delivery of summer meals and permanently authorizing the Summer EBT program.
“With 1 in 5 Kentucky kids experiencing food insecurity, the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act will provide the much-needed flexibility that summer nutrition providers and Kentucky families need to ensure no child in Kentucky goes hungry,” said Katrina Thompson, Executive Director of Feeding Kentucky. “We applaud Leader McConnell for leading the effort to end summer hunger.”
The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act focuses on rural areas, which have significantly higher rates of food insecurity and lower rates of participation in traditional summer feeding programs. According to Feeding America, 86% of the counties with the highest percentage of children at risk for food insecurity are rural.
Children in rural Kentucky often have a hard time accessing summer meals, even when summer meal sites do exist. Loosening the congregate meal requirement will allow students to consume meals off-site and for schools to deliver meals to students’ homes. Summer EBT will provide a grocery card to qualifying families to purchase food from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) authorized retailers. In USDA pilot programs, Summer EBT was found to reduce child hunger by over 30 percent.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen how successful mobile meals can be for Kentucky kids living in rural areas,” said Kate McDonald, No Kid Hungry Kentucky Campaign Director. “School nutrition professionals have worked overtime to deliver meals directly to children’s neighborhoods, ensuring transportation isn’t a barrier to Kentucky kids getting the nutritional support they need. The Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act builds on this success.”
About Feeding Kentucky
Feeding Kentucky is comprised of seven Feeding America food banks that reach all 120 counties of Kentucky and serve an estimated one in seven of all Kentuckians annually. Last year, its members distributed 79 million meals in partnership with more than 800 charitable feeding agencies such as pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community, visit FeedingKy.org.
— Feeding Kentucky
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