FoodCorps Commends the House Education and Labor Committee’s Build Back Better Act for Creating More Pathways to Healthy Food at School
Washington, D.C. — Today, FoodCorps joins school nutrition advocates in supporting the House Education and Labor Committee’s proposed Build Back Better Act for budget reconciliation. The Build Back Better Act invests nearly $35 billion in child nutrition programs, as well as other measures that support families and communities.
“We are hopeful that legislators will recognize the Build Back Better Act’s powerful potential for advancing child nutrition across the nation,” said Jessica Montoya, FoodCorps Policy Director. “We encourage legislators to enact these critical measures, which will alleviate food insecurity, support kids’ health, and help grow healthy school communities.”
The child nutrition provisions of the Build Back Better Act include:
- Increasing eligibility for nearly nine million more students to access free school lunches through 2030. Free school meals can be a lifeline for families who struggle to put food on the table, especially given the financial impacts of the pandemic, which hit communities of color and low-income communities hardest.
- $500 million in funding for school kitchen equipment upgrades. Modern, functional kitchens are key in order for schools to provide fresh, scratch-cooked school meals.
- $634 million in funding for grants that support experiential nutrition education and school gardens. Grants can also be used to source local food, support scratch cooking, serve culturally relevant meals, and other activities that promote students’ health and wellbeing, especially as society continues to recover from the pandemic.
- Creating a nationwide program to provide Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (Summer EBT) benefits. This will make it easier for households with children to purchase food while schools are closed during the summer months.
If passed, the Build Back Better Act will ensure greater access to free school meals, food and nutrition education, and healthy food for millions of kids across the country. According to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10.5 percent of American households were food insecure in 2020, with food insecurity growing among Black households and households with children. The Build Back Better Act therefore comes at a critical time for our country, providing a series of supports to families impacted by systemic racism and classism.
FoodCorps commends the Committee’s work in recognizing the critical role of school meals in nourishing students and ensuring they’re ready to learn every day, especially during the pandemic. We hope lawmakers will usher in this historic legislation supporting kids and families in the years to come.