Katko highlights need for improvements to summer nutrition programs

U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) highlighted the need to enhance summer nutrition programs on Monday during a stop on his Summer Nutrition Tour.

During a stop at the Huntington Family Center in Syracuse, New York, Katko called for support of the bipartisan Summer Meals Act, H.R. 1728, of which he is a cosponsor. The bill would enable more community-based organizations to distribute meals to at-risk children through programs that receive federal funding to make nutritious meals and snacks available during the summer.

“Children across the country – and right here in Central New York – depend on the nutritious meals provided to them at school,” Katko said. “However, during the summer months, many go without healthy meals. Childhood hunger and malnourishment have lasting impacts on children’s health, education outcomes and future competitiveness in the workforce. This is an issue that is amplified in the summer months, when only one in six children in need receive meals through the summer meals program.” 

Under current law, 50 percent of children in a given area must be eligible for free or reduced priced school meals in order to make organizations serving that area eligible for summer nutrition program funding. The Summer Meals Act would reduce that threshold to 40 percent of children in a given area, which would be consistent with the threshold for other federally funded summer programs.

“The Summer Meals Act would strengthen, protect and ensure access to the summer nutrition programs, and it is critical that Congress take action on this measure to eliminate childhood hunger,” Katko said.

The bill would allow local government agencies and non-profit organizations to feed children year-round through the Summer Food Service Program. The bill would also provide funding for transportation grants for mobile meal trucks and ensure that all sites serve a third meal.

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