The Oct. 21 School Notes column, “Rep. Trone fights for free school meals,” rightly points out the extreme importance of proper nutrition for the overall health and successful development of Maryland’s students.
Representative Trone should be applauded for his defense of these invaluable nutritional resources. As a member of the Frederick County Council and an elementary teacher of 14 years, I join in his commitment to the nutritional needs of our students and all of our fellow Marylanders. I am in strong agreement with Rep. Trone’s statement that “This program … gives them a shot to be at school in their best moments; well-fed and ready to do the work in school that will let them succeed in life.”
I oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule regarding broad-based categorical eligibility for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). In Frederick County, more than 3,300 families with children under the age of 18 receive SNAP benefits. Maryland Hunger Solutions, a statewide nonprofit that works with SNAP, estimates that up to 50,000 Marylanders could stand to lose SNAP benefits if this rule is implemented. The USDA recently admitted that they failed to take into account the specific impact these rule restrictions would have on schoolchildren and reopened the public comment period, acknowledging that 981,000 students across the nation could lose automatic access to free school meals.
It is important for us here in Frederick County to let the USDA know that restricting eligibility for SNAP and school meals is bad for our kids and bad for our future. Comments will be accepted through Friday and can be made online at the following link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FNS-2018-0037.