The Carolina Hunger Initiative and No Kid Hungry NC applaud the passing of the Keep Kids Fed Act, which will extend much-needed support for schools and other community partners that provide healthy meals for children. The bill was passed in Congress on Friday, June 24, and signed by President Biden on Saturday, June 25.
For months, school nutrition programs have been voicing concerns about a catastrophic outlook for the 2022-2023 school year because of supply chain disruptions, labor challenges, and rising costs for food, gas, and equipment. This legislation offers the opportunity to continue waivers, originally set to expire on June 30, 2022, that help alleviate some of these problems.
Schools and community organizations that operate federally-supported child nutrition programs will still face challenges. There is also still work to be done to support families by making healthy school meals available to all at no cost, which is an important element of the previous emergency waivers that is not continued in this legislation. But, this bill is a huge relief to the many who are working to feed kids and advocate on their behalf, in North Carolina and beyond.
All children deserve access to healthy food. Students, schools, and communities all benefit from the academic, physical, and social impacts of easily accessible healthy meals for kids.
We are still waiting to learn more specifics from USDA and state agencies about how the legislation will impact operations in North Carolina.
Thank you to the many nutrition professionals, educators, families, elected officials, community advocates, and more who raised their voices to make this happen.