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Anti-Childhood Hunger Organization Honors Boozman for Modernizing Summer Meals Program

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, was recognized today by a leading anti-childhood hunger advocacy organization for championing efforts to reach more children in need of nutrition assistance during the summer months.

Share Our Strength’s Dine for No Kid Hungry Advisory Board honored Boozman and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for their work to modernize the outdated summer meals program. The two senators successfully included a provision in the last year’s omnibus appropriations bill to help the program reach more food-insecure children, in both rural and urban communities, during the months when they are not in school. Their efforts amounted to the first substantial reform to the summer meals program in over sixty years.

“Senator Boozman’s leadership has been indispensable in the fight to end child hunger nationwide. Millions of children will now have access to meals when school is out thanks to his steadfast commitment to kids and to closing the summer meals gap,” Anne Filipic, CEO, Share Our Strength said.

Share Our Strength Award(Boozman and Stabenow speak at Share Our Strength’s breakfast reception after receiving awards from the organization for their work to improve the summer meals program.)

The change in the law secured by the senators increases the reach of the summer meals program beyond traditional congregate feeding sites by permanently allowing states to offer non-congregate meal options, such as grab-and-go or home delivery, and by authorizing a nationwide summer electronic benefit (EBT) program to eligible children.

“I was very proud to partner with Chairwoman Stabenow to help ensure our neediest children have access to nutritious meals in the summer. As a former public school board member, I know firsthand that proper nutrition is vital to a child’s ability to learn,” Boozman said. “The summer meals program was in desperate need of an update. I had long championed these commonsense modernizations, and I am very pleased that the non-congregate option and summer EBT are now a reality.” 

Boozman, a co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, had long sought to fill the gap children face when the school year ends. The reforms included in last year’s omnibus appropriations bill were based largely on the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act, which Boozman authored and introduced during the 117th Congress, and many past Congresses.

Along with the summer meals reforms, the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee have joined together to address the infant formula crisis and ease the supply chain difficulties school meal professionals faced last year.