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Regional News

WA Senator Wants To Make Food Aid For Kids Permanent

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Courtesy of Washington Department of Social and Health Services
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Washington Senator Patty Murray wants to turn temporary summer and pandemic free meals programs for children into permanent fixtures.

Murray is sponsoring what she calls the Stop Child Hunger Act. She says it’s similar to legislation she introduced in 2014.

“In the years since then, especially this past year, we have all seen how important it is for kids to have consistent access to the meals that our schools provide, even when those kids are not physically going to school," she said.

Murray says her bill wants to make permanent the temporary summer meals program that was part of the president’s American Rescue Plan.

Christina Wong from Northwest Harvest, a statewide food bank in Washington, says the legislation would allow families that qualify for those meals to receive an electronic benefits card.

“Families then take the card to any certified EBT retailer, grocery stores, corner stores, even farmers’ markets in Washington state, a lot of them, are certified to accept EBT. They use it to shop for food, just like you would with a debit card transaction," Wong said.

The bill has been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate. The president has included a similar proposal in his federal infrastructure package.