BCHP Praises Summer Meal Delivery Options Provided for in 2023 Omnibus

December 21, 2022
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 21, 2022 Contact: Craig Nash, craig_nash@baylor.edu, (254) 498-7602

Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty Applauds Provisions in Omnibus Bill to Help End Child Summer Hunger and Pave Expansion of “Meals-to-You” Program

Waco, TX – Congress included two significant provisions in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 omnibus spending bill, anticipated to pass this week, that establish a permanent Summer EBT program and create a nationwide non-congregate option for summer meal programs in rural areas without traditional summer meal sites.

Improving access to summer meals for school children in rural areas paves the way for an expansion of the “Meals-to-You” program, a demonstration project between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Baylor University’s Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty (BCHP).

Households with children have higher rates of food insecurity during the summer months, in part due to students not having access to school meals. To combat this, the Summer Food Service Program of the USDA offers options for children to eat at a summer meal site. However, rural communities face transportation challenges in accessing these sites.

With the passage of the FY 2023 omnibus, states will have options to provide meals to kids where they are through projects like Meals-to-You (MTY). MTY has successfully reduced food insecurity in rural America since 2019, and the Urban Institute has described it as a "promising strategy" for addressing food insecurity in the United States.

Since 2019, MTY has delivered stable, reliable food to children's homes in rural, frontier, and tribal regions of the U.S. In 2020, the program served nearly 40 million meals to over 273,000 children impacted by COVID-19-related school closures in 43 states and Puerto Rico. By late summer 2020, households that participated in Meals-to-You were, on average, 19.7% less likely to be food insecure than a household that did not participate.

“In the wealthiest country in the world, it is shameful that millions of children struggle with hunger every day," said Jeremy Everett, executive director of the Baylor Collaborative. “We thank Senators Debbie Stabenow and John Boozman for negotiating these important provisions in the latest omnibus bill and applaud their efforts to make summer EBT a permanent option and to continue to support innovation and leadership in addressing hunger in rural America.”

Added Everett, “From the beginning, Baylor University has advocated for interventions to be deployed at the congregate, EBT, and non-congregate levels, depending on which intervention best serves the needs of each child and family. The latest omnibus bill reflects this approach, which is an important step towards ensuring that all individuals and families have access to the food assistance they need. We’re proud to have had USDA as a partner from day one, and we’re grateful to see their continued support in the Meals-to-You program to feed kids in rural America during the summer. This is a critical and necessary measure to address food insecurity and support those struggling to make ends meet.”