Hawaii congressional leaders seek more federal money for school lunches

Community leaders visited the YMCA in Kalihi on Wednesday to discuss how a lack in federal...
Community leaders visited the YMCA in Kalihi on Wednesday to discuss how a lack in federal reimbursements is impacting free meal programs for Hawaii’s low-income children.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 4:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Community leaders visited the YMCA in Kalihi on Wednesday to discuss how a lack in federal reimbursements is impacting free meal programs for Hawaii’s low-income children.

Officials said Hawaii’s reimbursement rate for federally funded child nutrition programs should be 62% higher than other states, since reimbursement rates were set 43 years ago.

That’s why congressional leaders are requesting a 43% emergency increase until the new rates are adjusted.

“You can’t do your job if you’re hungry, and kids are no different,” U.S. Sen Brian Schatz said. “In fact, they feel it even worse. And so making sure that kids have the food that they need when they come to school, and including during the summer, is important for their psychological health, it’s important for their physical health and it’s important for their learning.”

Schatz said they are still waiting to hear back from the United States Department of Agriculture about the proposed temporary increase. Federal reimbursements rates for school lunch programs are not scheduled to be adjusted until 2026.

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