President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order to dedicate spending resources, which schools can use in providing school children with free meals. As it is, and even before the pandemic, many children of the country’s underprivileged families rely only on the free lunches served by public schools to students.
However, due to the fact that schools have closed and the lack of employment caused by the ongoing pandemic, families particularly their children have been missing important and sustainable meals. Although many public schools continued to deliver the free lunches by way of school buses, not all students are able to pick up their food rations.
President Biden’s executive order also instructs the country’s Department of Agriculture to study the possibility of helping states to increase the number of benefits to the need families. The directive is in preparation for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP that the U.S. Congress will pass in providing food assistance to families in need.
Additionally, the executive order’s fact sheet includes a suggestion to increase Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer payments by 15%. Through this program schools can increase the number of children who will benefit from nutritious meals even as the pandemic continues. The program aims to provide $100 every two months, to needy families with three or more children.
Significance of President Biden’s New Executive Order
Even before the economic fallout, around thirty million school children qualified to receive free lunches. The feeding program was launched after a study revealed that missing necessary meals have long-lasting effects on the overall health and well-being of children. Even before the pandemic, many families already found it difficult to provide their children with proper meals.
Despite doing their best to continue providing their students the free meals, schools are reporting that not all students have picked up their food rations at the school bus stops in their respective area. According to the superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, Ann Levett, at first, only 2,000 meals were served when students came to pick them up in schools.
In order to improve the food delivery system, the school started using school buses to deliver breakfast and lunches at bus stop points. As a result, the number of food packages served to students increased to 10,000. Yet, the school superintendent noted that many are still missing meals as the normal count during holding of in-person classes could reach as many as 24,000.