Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy (June 2022)

Capitol Insider: Latest News on Food Insecurity Policy & Advocacy

by Jessica Dietrich, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy

June 27, 2022

Child Nutrition Program Waivers

Congress took an important step last week to combat childhood hunger with the announcement of a long-awaited agreement to extend child nutrition waivers. The bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act by Senate Committee on Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR), along with House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA 03) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R NC-5) was passed by Congress, which ensures a number of important policies stay in place through June 30, 2023.

Hunger Free Oklahoma, in partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, wrote a letter to our members of Congress requesting they take action to extend the USDA’s authority to issue these important program flexibilities. The letter was also accompanied by several stories shared by members of the Oklahoma Childhood Food Security Coalition about how the lack of waivers will directly impact the number of summer meal sites and the overall number of meals food-insecure Oklahoma children will be able to access this year. This continued collaborative advocacy is crucial to helping policymakers understand how these policies impact Oklahomans.

Read Hunger Free Oklahoma’s full statement.

 

HFO Leadership Visit to D.C.

Members of Hunger Free Oklahoma’s executive team visited Washington, D.C. last week to build relationships and advocate for important food security policies. Our priorities for this trip included extending child nutrition waivers, ensuring Oklahoma voices are heard in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and discussing priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. Our time with partners, congressional leaders, and USDA leadership was extremely valuable and will help us continue to bring a unified, statewide voice to the issue and solutions surrounding hunger, to ensure all Oklahomans have access to affordable, nutritious food.

 

P-EBT Updates

School Year 2020–2021 Benefits:
Families who filled out the review form on OSDE’s page are starting to receive these benefits.

School Year 2021–2022 Benefits:
Oklahoma was recently approved to operate the P-EBT program for school closures during the 2021–2022 school year. At this time, we are unsure of when these benefits will be issued.

Summer 2022 Benefits:
Oklahoma was recently approved to operate the P-EBT program for Summer 2022. Unlike school year benefits, summer benefits are a uniform amount of $391 for all qualifying children. At this time, we are unsure of when these benefits will be issued.

 

Federal Public Health Emergency 

Earlier this month the federal public health emergency was extended to July 15, 2022. At this time, it is being predicted that the emergency declaration will likely be extended at least one more time (from July through October), though no official action has been announced or taken yet. The end of the federal public health emergency will mean several changes to federal nutrition programs. We are tracking this very closely and will keep our partners updated with the latest information.

 

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