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Debbie Stabenow calls on USDA to extend flexibility for school lunches

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US Senator Debbie Stabenow held a teleconference on Wednesday calling on the US Department of Agriculture to expand flexibility for school lunches into the school year.

The flexibility allowed schools to provide a week’s worth of school lunches for an entire family of students at one pick up location during the spring and summer.

But that flexibility will expire as classes resume this Fall.

US Senator Debbie Stabenow said without that flexibility it will become much more difficult for families.

“A family in Michigan or across the country who has a child in elementary school, one in middle school, maybe one in High school after August would have to go to each school to get the meals for their children instead of being able to go to one spot.”

The Michigan Department of Education said it distributed 80-million meals to students between March and July.

“We are calling on them to use the flexibility that Congress gave them, we didn’t take any of it away, to continue working with our schools to provide the food our children so desperately need,” Stabenow said.

In a letter to Stabenow, the USDA said it does not have the authority to extend the flexibility around school lunches into the coming school year.

UPDATE: In response to our request for comment US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue called Stabenow's comments "fear mongering" and "disingenuous." The statement said that school meal flexibility has been extended through September 30th.