A new federal measure, the Build Back Better Act, includes nearly $35 billion for child nutrition programs. This critical investment will help ensure all children have access to the nutrition they need all year long.
The child nutrition provisions in the Build Back Better Act would achieve the following:
- Expand the number of schools able to offer free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision.
- Give states the option to implement the Community Eligibility Provision statewide, allowing all students in the state to receive school breakfast and lunch at no charge.
- Allow all states to qualify students for free school meals through a Medicaid “direct certification.’’ Children who participate in Medicaid would be automatically eligible for subsidized school meals. Children who participate in Medicaid and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, guardianship or adoption assistance payments or are in kinship care would be certified for free school meals.
- Extend Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) nationwide for students who receive subsidized school meals. The act would allow states that participate in WIC to provide Summer EBT, which provides fund to families to buy groceries.
- Provide $500 million for school kitchen equipment grants.
- Provide $634 million for a Healthy School Meal Incentives demonstration project.
These important provisions will prove crucial in the ongoing fight against childhood hunger and food insecurity. We urge all members of the House Committee on Education and Labor to support the bill and call on Congress to quickly pass the Build Back Better Act.