On Monday, August 31, 2020, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, at Abraham House to announce her new bill, the “Ensuring Nutrition for America’s Student’s Act.”
With food pantries across New York facing unprecedented and growing demand, and with schools set to reopen in just a few days, the bill will provide nutritional resources to families who have lost access to free or reduced lunches due to school closures caused by the pandemic. It would also extend the P-EBT program—which is set to expire on September 30, 2020—through the upcoming school year to ensure students have access to meals even if in person learning is disrupted. The proposed legislation would make the P-EBT program more responsive to these disruptions so that eligible students who miss any meals at school will receive benefits.
Additionally, eligibility for P-EBT would extend in order to meet the growing needs of food insecure families. Statewide, roughly 2.1 million children are eligible for Pandemic EBT.
“This pandemic and economic crisis have left people sick and scared, hurting and hungry. Through no fault of their own, people have lost their jobs, their paychecks, and their ability to put food on the table. That is why it is critical that the next relief package prioritizes expanding SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Pandemic EBT benefits,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The incredible community leaders I met with today cannot do it alone. They need our federal government to step up and find ways to catch the kids slipping through the cracks. Passing the Ensuring Nutrition for America’s Student Act will help us do that by extending Pandemic-EBT through the next academic school year, at the very least. I will keep working with my colleagues and reaching across the aisle to enact this program.”
“COVID-19 has economically devastated our poorest communities, and with schools eliminating free and reduced lunches, it is important that we provide a strong food supply chain that is steady and reliable for those who need it most,” said Bronx Borough President Diaz, Jr. “I want to thank Sen. Gillibrand for tackling this problem by advocating for the “Ensuring Nutrition for America’s Students Act” in Congress. This important piece of legislation will provide food accessibility for our most vulnerable communities during this global crisis.”