LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KFVS) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed to his request to extend school food waivers through the end of 2020.
These waivers eliminate restrictive requirements and increase flexibility for schools and other organizations as they serve meals to children at no cost.
Senator McConnell, U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and 18 other Senators wrote a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue encouraging him to exercise his emergency authority to provide flexibility to help deliver nutritional meals to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m grateful to Secretary Perdue and the entire Trump administration for helping protect Kentucky’s children during this pandemic. Young people should focus on learning and staying safe during these uncertain times, not on where they’ll find their next meal,” said Senator McConnell. “With the additional flexibility and increased access to federally-supported food programs, Kentucky’s children can learn and thrive whether they are in the classroom or learning from home.”
Congress provided USDA the ability to extend this school nutrition waiver in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
In that legislation, Congress also appropriated funding for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program, which has delivered 75 million food boxes to American families in need.
This program has played an important role in collecting excess commodities from farmers, who have been struggling with uncertain markets during the pandemic, and distributing them to families in need.
According to Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap 2020,” 18.9% of Kentucky children experience food insecurity—more than the national average.