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Former FLPC Clinic Student Authors Op-Ed on Summer Meals in Arkansas

Tommy Tobin, a Spring 2015 Student in the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, recently published an op-ed on the Summer Food Service Program in Arkansas’ leading newspaper.

In “Aid for Arkansas’ Hungry Kids,” published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (registration required), Tommy outlined the problems facing young people and their families over the summer months.

Excerpt from the op-ed:

“During the school year, over 230,000 young people receive free or reduced-price lunch at schools in Arkansas. During the summer months, no school can mean no meals for the state’s low-income children, which results in already-tight family budgets becoming further constrained. According to the Food Research and Action Center, only 23.3 percent of these low-income students receive the summer meal equivalent of the school lunch program.

With diminished access to nutritionally adequate food, low-income students risk falling behind educationally and developmentally.”

Tommy discusses recent initiatives in Arkansas and at the federal level to reshape summer meals programs. Specifically, he mentions two federal proposals that may affect the summer meals programs: President Obama’s 2017 budget and S.1966, a Senate bill supported by a diverse mix of Senators including Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) among others. These federal proposals would provide EBT benefits to students when school is out, and differ in the amount of benefits.

The op-ed argues that we should start now to prepare for summer meals for our nation’s children. As Tommy has written elsewhere, “Together, we can take a bite out of food insecurity and help feed hungry kids this summer.”

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