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Congressman Cleaver Calls on USDA to Provide More Flexibility, Support to Student Nutrition Programs

Aug 14, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) joined over 100 Members of Congress to call for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend important child food programs through the coming school year. Specifically, the members called for the USDA to renew waivers for families to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), and to waive area eligibility requirements during the entirety of school year 2020-2021.

In a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers wrote:

“Simply put, without these flexibilities, some schools will be unable to continue providing meals for students next year…It is unconscionable that the Department would fail to utilize all of its available authority to ensure that children can continue to receive the nutritious meals they need to learn next year.”

The SFSP and SSO were first authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and have been utilized by schools and non-profits to provide meals to children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Should the Administration fail to renew these waivers and provide flexibility for these programs, some schools will be unable to continue providing meals to students next year.

“Many students depend on schools and school lunches to help them meet their nutritional needs, uncertain of where their next meal might come from,” said Congressman Cleaver. “During this economically and educationally turbulent time, we must ensure that students don’t have to worry about hunger in addition to social studies.”

You can find the official letter with a list of co-signers here.


Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.