Combatting Childhood Hunger in Summer 2022


Share Our Strength

  • Bernadette Downey, Associate Director for Government Relations and Advocacy 
  • Carolyn Vega, Associate Director of Policy Analysis, Center for Best Practices


  • Augustin Ntabaganyimana, Deputy Executive Director of Programs, Family Investment Administration, Maryland Department of Human Services

Federal Update

Keep Kids Fed Act: On June 25, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Keep Kids Fed Act (KKFA) to mitigate the impact of the end of the child nutrition waivers due to expire next Thursday, June 30, 2022. This Act will extend critical funding and flexibility for communities to provide children healthy meals this summer and support schools and daycare providers impacted by supply chain challenges and high food costs for the coming school year.

What Changes: Whereas for the past two years families could automatically receive school lunches at no cost, qualifying families must now apply for, and complete eligibility renewals, in order to receive free and reduced-price lunch services through the National Food Lunch Program.  KKFA increases the reimbursement rate for school lunches and school breakfasts to help offset inflation of food costs and workforce shortages for schools. Schools will receive 40 cents more for each lunch, and 15 cents more for each breakfast served.

What Continues: KKFA maintains operational flexibilities through SY22/23 to mitigate administrative and fiscal challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. Flexibilities like food delivery, grab-and-go meal options, and exemptions to congregate meal settings aim to bolster access to services.


Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry Campaign – Helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. The campaign’s strategy focuses on working with local partners to identify and eliminate the barriers for kids.

Summer hunger landscape across the country:

  • The number of summer meals served in July 2020 was nearly triple the number served in July 2019.
  • Even after communities began to re-open in 2021, the number of summer meals served doubled that of 2019. (July 2019 – 95.1M meals; July 2020 – 262.7M meals; July 2021 – 190.6M meals)


  • The Summer SNAP for Children Act passed in 2019 to reduce poverty and hunger for children in Maryland by providing an additional food benefit directly onto a SNAP EBT card.
    • $30 per child per summer month and $10 per child in December for continuity during winter break.
  • Developed as part of the national demonstration project under the USDA FNS Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC), Summer SNAP is now in year 3 of the pilot program and continues to expand:
    • 14 jurisdictions will participate in the program in PY 2022 compared to 6 in PY 2021
    • 4,200 Summer SNAP recipients/year in PY20& PY21, 102,000 recipients/year in PY22 (24X increase)

Key Takeaways

Strategies for States to consider in maximizing access to summer and school meals:

Capitalize on all available waivers for States. In addition, to assist in alleviating possible barriers or challenges for families and schools, States should consider universal branding and messaging as they roll out implementation (reenactment of the reduced lunches requirement and eligibility) of KKFA for the SY22/23

Explore alternative certification methods:

  • Direct Certification through Medicaid: This demonstration project helps identify and certify children in Medicaid households for free or reduced lunches without using individual household school meal applications.
  • Exercising the community eligibility provision: Allows schools in high poverty areas (40% or higher) to provide free schools meals to all students without collecting and processing individual school meal applications. chools in high poverty areas (40% or higher) to provide free schools meals to all students without collecting and processing individual school meal applications.

Coordination between state and local governments is the key to success: For MD’s Summer SNAP Program, the required local share of funds is calculated based on the state’s school construction formula.

  • As a result, several jurisdictions choose to contribute more than the base minimum, which allows them to serve more children in their area.
  • MD’s program is funded through a combination of state general funds and local government contributions. Governor Hogan’s budget commitment of $4.8 million for SFY 2022 increased the State share of funding as well.

Questions to Consider as Next Steps:

  1. How do your child welfare and food support agencies collaborate to determine hunger’s role in removals for neglect?
  2. How do your education and food support agencies share data and student information?
  3. Has your state taken advantage of all existing waivers and flexibilities?