Rep. Omar Statement on Extension of School Meal Waivers and Impact of Her MEALS Act

April 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the extension of nationwide school meal waivers through June 30, 2022. Specifically, these waivers will allow school meal programs and childcare institutions to continue serving healthy meals free of charge to more than 20 million children. 

This was possible in part due to the passage of the MEALS Act, authored by Rep. Omar, which provides USDA with the authority to grant certain waivers to provide meals and snacks to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m thrilled school meals will be extended for another school year by this Administration,” said Rep. Omar. “Millions of families are still struggling from the fallout of this pandemic and this action will ensure children have the nutrition they need to succeed for another year. As someone who experienced child hunger in a refugee camp and know firsthand the devastating consequences it can have—this issue is deeply personal. Today is a victory for children across the country and I won’t stop fighting until no child in the United States feels the pangs of hunger like I did.”

Rep. Omar has been working with her colleagues to ensure USDA would extend the waivers through the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year and ensure no child goes hungry. In March, Congress authorized the use of waivers in the MEALS Act, authored by Rep. Omar, and the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act in order to protect students’ access to school meal benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools and non-profit partners across the country have utilized these waivers to prevent child hunger.