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Inflation Is Affecting Mostly Adults and Teens Who Put Food on the Table, and Now Kids Too

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Our poor children are always in the middle of everything. We’ve got moms trying to raise boys into men, dads not involved, children getting shot up, listening to their parents argue or fight, deal with physical or mental abuse. They get neglected, and if nothing happens at home and things are okay, they still get woke agendas shoved down their throats at school, and now they might be faced with inflation too?

The free school lunch program started in March 2020 when Congress approved the U.S. Division of Agriculture to give lots of children nutrition waivers. Including some that extended well into summer food programs, ensuring no child went without during the pandemic.

While this little boost may seem insignificant in the grand scheme, it was and is very impactful to families. The waivers are set to end this month as planned, and specialists predict an emergency as families are now faced with inflated gas, food, and just about everything else. This is set to put some families in a world of hurt when they can no longer afford to feed their kids or have to choose between groceries or gas for work.

The cafeterias that serve these children and students, in the meantime, are now running into a rough patch. One that we’re all seeing and feeling – supply and chain interruptions – is so inadequate that food costs are skyrocketing. This is especially true with healthy foods and the kind our children should be eating for nutrition.

There is typically a requirement set forth by the USDA for schools to adhere to when feeding students. However, given the circumstances, it isn’t proven easy to keep to these requirements. The waivers now gave them the adaptability to provide other types of food for nutrients using substitutions without any penalties.

“School meal programs are facing a perfect storm,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokesperson for the School Nutrition Association, a trade organization representing over 50,000 school nutrition employees. “They are very concerned about financial sustainability,” she said, and with universal free meals going away, “they’re very concerned about kids going hungry next year.”

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With everything going on, we need to make sure we show our children extra amounts of love and make sure they know that they mean the world to us. As youngsters, they’ve got so much on their plate that it’s not fair. So I challenge all the good parents out there to step up and do something more, be a great parent if you can, and it doesn’t have to be just about spending money. Sure, that can be required for some things, but you can spend quality time with your little bundles of joy and love.

Before the waivers, children in families whose salaries were at or beneath 130% of the government neediness level were qualified for the waivers. Next, we had families who fell into the poverty level range of 130% to 185%. These families were still helped out by allowing the students to pay for reduced-price meals through the USDA’s School Lunch Program.

These waivers helped schools create easy grab-and-go meals for students when things shut down due to covid. It provided food for all children despite the family’s income. Not all families use it, of course, because not all families need it, but things are different from when covid started two years ago. Now, we see families unemployed, without a home, and worse.

Meier commented, “We think that that is directly attributed to the flexibilities Congress gave, and now they’re refusing to extend those waivers.”

This could spell bad news for families, so even if you are doing well at the moment and have the means, I’d recommend trying to stock up on some basics at the very least. Not to fearmonger, but you should have an emergency system tucked away. It doesn’t even have to be for this reason; it could be due to any emergency like weather-related ones.