• RESULTS FOR THE HUDSON VALLEY

  • 27,276,384
    Dollars Recovered for NY-18
  • 408
    Medals & Awards Returned to Vets
  • 8,464
    Constituent Cases Closed
  • 40
    Bills Signed Into Law

Maloney Calls on USDA to Ensure Hudson Valley Children Don’t Lose Access to Meals if Schools Close

Mar 12, 2020
Press Release

Maloney Calls on USDA to Ensure Hudson Valley Children Don’t Lose Access to Meals if Schools Close

Washington, D.C. - As schools throughout New York face potential closures due to the coronavirus, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) has called on Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to immediately approve waivers New York State needs in order to continue providing school meals for students who qualify for free and reduced-price school meals. 

“Government red tape and bureaucracy should never get in the way of any child’s access to the quality, healthy meals they need. The USDA needs to work with New York to ensure meals for kids in-need continue, even if their schools close because of this virus,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. 

Roughly half of children in New York’s public school system - 1.8 million - qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. An unexpected school closure could leave these children hungry and without access to a healthy meal for a prolonged period of time. New York State has submitted waivers to continue these programs, but the waivers have not yet been granted by the USDA. 

The letter also reiterates New York State’s request for waivers to allow School Food Authorities (SFAs)/Community Organizations (COs) the option to serve meals at schools during unexpected dismissals or closures. Schools provide an accessible location already equipped to serve meals, which will help impacted communities gain easier access to meals. 

Rep. Maloney serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee.

Read the letter here or below: 

March 11, 2020

The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250 

Dear Secretary Perdue, 

I write today to implore you to expedite the approval of waivers that will enable New York state to continue providing school meals during the current public health crisis arising from COVID 19. Roughly 2.6 million children attend public school in New York state. Over half of those children -- 1.8 million -- qualify for free and reduced-price school meals. During the current emergency, New York state must be granted waivers that allow the state to continue providing these critical meals to children while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. 

New York state has requested waivers to allow School Food Authorities (SFAs)/Community Organizations (COs) the option to serve meals at schools during unexpected dismissals or closures. As you know, regulations require SFAs and COs use non-school locations during unanticipated school closures. However, in this circumstance, schools provide an accessible location already equipped to serve meals -- ensuring participants received needed food assistance during an emergency. 

Additionally, the state is requesting a waiver to provide non-congregate feeding during school dismissals or closures. Current regulations require the consumption of meals at meal sites. However, as COVID-19 continues to spread, this requirement increases the potential of exposure among program participants. New York must have the flexibility to implement alternative school meal models that would provide meals to participants while limiting interaction and proximity to potential COVID-19 exposure. 

Your timely response and action to my request are appreciated. 

Sincerely,

Sean Patrick Maloney
MEMBER OF CONGRESS 

 

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