Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and more than two dozen other House Democrats have proposed a new education bill that would make free and subsidized school meals available even at times when there are temporary school closures caused by labor strikes, natural disasters, or public health emergencies.
The school lunch program was first introduced at the end of World War II and has since been used to ensure that low-income children are still able to satisfy all their nutritional needs. In the 1960s, school breakfast was also introduced. Over the summer, the Department of Agriculture runs a “Summer Meals for Kids” program which provides children access to school meals even during times of school closures.
With this new bill, Omar is seeking to ensure that free and subsidized meals will be available to children even during unscheduled disruptions, like the extreme weather in Minnesota recently or the labor strikes in other states, which have led to school closures.
The bill is also sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who pointed to the labor strikes in his state as another reason why school meals should be distributed even during school closures. As he noted, there are thirty million students in America who are dependent on these meals, so without them “they would often go hungry.”
Many of the supporters of the bill are also pointing out how the COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of school meals for many families across the nation.