Murkowski Works to Boost Food Security for Youth During Summer

Senator: Summer Break Shouldn’t Be Source of Food Anxiety, Alaska Non-Profits Support Efforts, Goals of Bipartisan Bill

Senator Lisa Murkowski today introduced bipartisan legislation to cut red tape and unnecessary federal mandates that threaten to prevent thousands of Alaskan children in need of nutritious summer meals from receiving meals that are normally provided by schools during the school year.  The Summer Meals Act, co-sponsored by Murkowski and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would make it easier for community organizations to feed children through the Summer Food Service Program, which provides free, nutritious meals to children age 18 or younger in areas where at least half of the children are from low-income families.

“For most children, summer vacation means spending time outside and enjoying the warmer weather—but for roughly 35,000 Alaskan children, it means anxiety about where their next meal will come from,” said Murkowski. “Children should look forward to their summer vacations, not dread them. This legislation will support the Summer Food Service Program, providing food security for less fortunate young Alaskans when they are typically more physically active and need it more. I look forward to working on this bill with my colleagues to hone it further as it moves through the committee process to make it the most cost-effective, efficient program possible.”

The Summer Meals Act would increase access to summer meals by: 1) improving coordination between school year meal programs and the Summer Food Service Program; 2) encouraging more groups to participate by reducing federal red tape; 3) increasing participation by allowing innovative solutions for limited transportation; and 4) allowing day-long programs to serve up to three meals per day.

(Mary Sullivan, Food Bank of Alaska, discusses the importance of the Summer Meals Act—click to watch.)