MACo Supports Expansion of Summer Meals Program for Children

MACo Associate Director, Natasha Mehu, submitted written testimony in support of House Bill 273, “Education – Summer Meals Expansion Grant Program – Established,” to the House Ways and Means Committee on February 9, 2017.

HB 273 aims to expand the reach of the federally funded Summer Foods Service Program (Summer Meals Program). It authorizes Summer Meals Program sponsors to apply for supplemental money from a competitive state-county matching grant fund to expand their ability to provide free and nutritious meals to children in need.

From MACo testimony:

Many county school systems, local government agencies, nonprofit community organizations, and faith-based organizations participate in the Summer Meals Program as sponsoring agencies. Unfortunately, federal funds only go so far. In areas in which the needs exceed the available sponsor resources, some children may good without food. Counties do not want to see children in their communities go hungry.

This bill helps to fill those gaps and does so in a way that ensures additional funding, if provided, is reasonably shouldered between the state and local governments. Applicants are required to show evidence that the county has committed to matching the state grant funds before the funds may be approved. This protects local governments from being obligated to provide resources they do not have. It also protects against funds going to sponsors that may not merit the resources and ensures that state grant funds are being provided to sponsors that have the support of their communities.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.