Agudath Israel of America: We reach out to you now because a small window of opportunity has opened to help our families and school children.
During COVID, we fought for USDA waivers.
For decades, Agudath Israel has made it a priority to help our community participate in federal child nutrition programs, including school-based meals. We worked especially hard during the COVID 19 pandemic – both in Washington and the states — to make sure that the USDA would be authorized to provide waivers that opened up school nutrition programs to millions of families, including tens of thousands in our own schools.
Indeed, the kosher “food boxes” that had become a staple in many communities across the country proved to be a vital lifeline to our parents and children during an unprecedented crisis that dealt a devastating blow to family incomes and school operations. We were pleased to work with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AK) in helping to make this happen.
But universal school meals are gone!
Unfortunately, with the onset of the current school year, the pandemic-initiated school meal improvements that made it possible to serve all children with less bureaucracy and administrative burdens have come to an end. This will deal a great blow to our children and families.
But we can help change this!
Last week, an effort was initiated by Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Katie Porter (D-CA) to extend the flexible school meals program as it operated in the past two years. They, and numerous members of the House, have called upon both House and Senate leadership to include in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) an extension of the program that will provide access to school meals for all K-12 students.
We must contact our senators and representatives to reinforce this message. This is no time to end flexibility for school meals, as formidable challenges – including supply chain disruptions and exorbitant food prices – remain and steepen. Families continue to feel the effects of the pandemic. And children continue to need nourishment for educational success.
Contact Congress today!
We urge you to contact your senators and representatives to support the extension of the flexible COVID 19 school meals framework and include it in the CR. Time is short. The CR must be passed by September 30 so please do it today.