Levin Statement on USDA’s Extension of School Meal Waivers

August 31, 2020
Press Release

WARREN, MI – Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), Vice Chair of the House Education & Labor Committee, released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s extension of waivers giving states and schools the flexibility to operate emergency summer meal programs until December 31, 2020:

“This is a very important step to ensure children in Michigan have the nutrition they need during this unprecedented time. In imploring the USDA to extend these waivers, State Superintendent Michael Rice explained Michigan schools, as of last week, had distributed 89 million meals under federal guidance to Michigan children since mid-March.

“Recently, I visited Gleaners’ Summer Food Service Program at Robert Lutz School in Clinton Township. In challenging times, it is amazing to see hardworking educators and service providers figuring out the moment and making incredible things happen. In fact, adapting the meal program for the pandemic, with drive-thru service and groceries for home-cooked meals, has made it a better program that families love.

“With so many kids learning at home this fall, many marking their first day of school this very day, we have to make sure they have the meals they would normally get at school. In reality, the extension to December 31 is not enough. I will continue to push for this extension to last throughout the 2020-21 school year and for robust resources to combat hunger in the next coronavirus relief package. The need is even greater now than when we did so on a bipartisan basis in March.”

Earlier this month, Rep. Levin signed a letter to the USDA urging this extension announced today. He also led the bipartisan WIC Safety and Modernization Act to further combat food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.