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Letters to the Editor for April 16, 2022: A critically needed waiver

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A critically needed waiver

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In March, Congress failed to extend the U.S. Department of Agriculture's authority to issue child nutrition waivers as part of the omnibus appropriations package. If Congress doesn’t extend the waivers, which expire on June 30, children in Virginia are at risk of losing access to meals this summer and next school year.

During the pandemic, Congress gave the USDA the authority to provide flexibility so that schools and community organizations can safely and efficiently feed children. Thanks to the flexibility, sites could deliver meals or allow for multiple meal pickups. These changes not only promote safety, but are practical for working parents or families without reliable transportation to make it to their local sites.

The waivers also ensure operators still receive funding, even if they could not source items that meet the usual meal standards as groups navigate shipping and supply chain issues.

Without the flexibility from these waivers, many schools and organizations will be unable to open summer meal sites this year. This is a disastrous scenario for the 1 in 8 kids facing hunger in Virginia. Congress and the White House must work together to extend the waivers.

Sarah Steely.

No Kid Hungry Virginia.

Richmond.

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