Prioritize ending childhood hunger

Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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To the editor:

Today, 1 in 8 kids in Virginia may face hunger. That number would be much higher if not for actions taken by federal and state leaders that significantly blunted hardship and hunger for many Virginians during the COVID-19 crisis.

But without action from Congress, new and enhanced policies that are helping feed more kids than ever before will expire, and we could see hunger skyrocket.

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Through the Build Back Better plan, Congress must make the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer program, or Summer EBT, available nationwide. It helps get more food to kids in need when schools are out of session by helping parents buy groceries in the summer months.

At the same time, the enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) is helping more families than ever before pay for food and other essential items like rent, diapers and shoes. If Congress doesn’t extend the enhanced CTC, 27 million kids across the country, including more than 500,000 kids here in Virginia, will lose out on this critical benefit.

These programs work alongside federal nutrition programs, like school and summer meals, to get kids the nutrition they need. Expanding a program called the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, would help make sure more kids have access to the healthy meals they need with less red tape so they can focus on learning and not their empty stomachs.

Representatives Scott and Luria and Senators Warner and Kaine, kids need your help. I urge you to prioritize these policies and programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Sarah Steely