GOP bill would expand kids' access to summer meals

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has introduced a bill that would ensure that students who receive free or reduced lunch have access to meals during the summer while school is out.

Young said increasing low-income students' access to healthy meals during the summer would boost their productivity throughout the year.

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"As a former teacher, I know that these types of programs genuinely help kids maintain their academic progress throughout the summer months, and this legislation works to ensure that more students start the school year healthy and ready to learn," Young said in a statement.

The legislation would allow private organizations that provide school meals to offer meals through the National School Lunch Program. It would permit schools and other organizations to offer three meals per day instead of just two, as well as cover meals served after school hours, weekends and holidays.

Under current law, communities are not eligible for the Summer Meals Program unless at least 50 percent of children in the area receive free or reduced lunch. The bill would lower the minimum to 40 percent.

The measure would also authorize awarding of grants that provide students in rural areas with transportation to educational programs during the summer.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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