Without swift action from Congress, children in Utah are at risk of losing access to meals this summer, and many more next school year. That’s because critical child nutrition waivers will soon expire and so far, Congress has failed to authorize the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend them. 

These waivers are an important tool that allows schools and community organizations to serve meals in ways that work best for their communities while they grapple with ongoing pandemic-related challenges like supply chain disruptions, rising food prices and staffing shortages.  

But in a few months, meal programs will once again be turned on their heads, forced to transform how they operate; many won’t be able to operate at all. Without flexibility from the waivers, many schools would be unable to open summer meal sites. Children in Utah’s rural communities would be at particular risk when meal providers are no longer allowed to meet kids where they are by reimagining traditional summer meal service. 

Congress and the White House must work together to fix this. Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, please don’t pull the rug out from under schools working to feed kids. Doing so would fail the 1 in 7 kids facing hunger in Utah.

Erica Olmstead

Senior field manager, No Kid Hungry