April 20, 2016
Yasmine Evans (Edwards)–202-225-8699
Edwards Denounces Proposed Bill to Restrict School Meals Program
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards released the following statement addressing a draft child nutrition reauthorization bill which would severely restrict schools’ ability to provide free meals to low-income students.
“Recognizing the direct correlation between nutrition and learning, one of my first actions in Congress was to get Maryland added to the Afterschool Suppers Program,” Edwards said. “We know that a link exists between students receiving proper nutrition and being able to concentrate and learn at school. Since 2010, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) has provided schools in high-poverty areas with the means to cut through the red tape when it comes to feeding students. Over 200,000 students and families in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties, and 800,000 in Maryland, benefit from CEP. Children experiencing hunger are more likely to have lower test scores, more likely to repeat a grade, and more likely to have disciplinary problems. Limiting CEP eligibility is simply creating additional burdens for already struggling schools in high-poverty areas.
“It is important that our children receive healthy and nutritious meals during their critical years of development. When parents struggle financially to support their families and put food on the table, it’s a no brainer to support a program that helps provide food to students. Our children’s health and education must be a top priority and the thought of restricting school meals programs singles out low income families and is a non-starter.”