Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Quarles lends support to summer feeding program bill

By Sean Southard

Frankfort, KY - Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles has lent his support to The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act, a bipartisan bill that includes flexibility for summer feeding site sponsors to reach schoolchildren in hard-to-reach areas of rural states like Kentucky.

"When I first took office as Agriculture Commissioner, I traveled the state and spoke with food banks and summer meal site operators about the bureaucratic rules and regulations that complicate serving meals to hungry kids during the summer months," Commissioner Quarles said. "This bill will allow more flexibility for summer feeding programs to meet kids where they are."

The bill, introduced by Republican Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), adds additional flexibility and choice in existing federal child nutrition programs, which would allow states to better ensure children in rural areas are not treated unfairly when school is out of session. Currently, children must travel to a central location and eat their meals together. In rural areas, it can be difficult for children to reach a site, if a site even exists.

"I applaud Leader McConnell for pushing this effort forward, for getting bureaucratic rules out of the way, and making sure that fewer Kentucky schoolchildren go hungry," Commissioner Quarles said.

The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act would authorize the Department of Agriculture to establish two alternative options for program delivery for summer meals:
  • Authorize summer meal providers to deliver to eligible children in rural and hard-to-reach communities, allowing for meal distribution flexibility if a delivery site is unexpectedly closed due to inclement weather or other conditions; and
  • Provide eligible households with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card each month over summer break to purchase eligible food items from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) approved retailers. In USDA pilot programs, summer EBT was shown to reduce child hunger by more than 30 percent.
"Children in rural areas often face significant hurdles when trying to access school meals during the summer months, including irregular public transportation and long commutes to school. This problem has only become more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington's one-size-fits-all approach to this issue has proved insufficient for rural students who struggle with obstacles that those in urban areas might not," Senator McConnell said. "The Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act would give states the flexibility to provide summer meal delivery programs to children in hard-to-reach areas. This bill will bring effective, flexible reforms to existing school meal programs and deliver greater fairness to Kentucky's most vulnerable children."

This story was posted on 2021-06-17 21:28:56
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by Linda Waggener and Pen Waggener, PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia Magazine. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.