A free school lunch program passed at the onset of the pandemic is set to expire June 30.
It provides free lunch to all US students but is not included in the latest spending bill.
One single mom told the Guardian she would skip meals herself to feed her kids without the program.
A free lunch program passed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic is set to expire June 30 and Congress has not included it in its latest spending bill, putting meals for 10 million students at risk.
"I think we're going to see in real time the summer hunger crisis grow, and that's going to give us a preview of what's going to happen next school year," Jillien Meier, director of food access advocacy group No Kid Hungry, told The Guardian.
The latest funding bill included $29 billion of nutrition programs for children but cut the $11 billion free lunch program that provided waivers to schools to reimburse costs of providing free lunches to all students and removed the family application process to receive free meals.
The program was initially passed in March 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and was extended in June and October 2020 and once again in April 2021.
The immediate impacts of the cuts will be felt by families who have relied on the program to ensure their kids are fed. In the US, 22 million students get free or reduced lunch during the school year — a number that has only increased since the pandemic, according to the USDA.
Without the extended programs, "I would take the blow, like not eating myself just to make sure my kids had enough to eat," A single mom of two told The Guardian. "No child should have to be hungry in school or anywhere else."
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