BCHP Press Release: Smart Act 2021

May 11, 2021

Jeremy Everett



Baylor Collaborative Expresses Support for Layered Approach to Summer Hunger

 Waco, TX – As children around the nation approach the end of a historic school year marked by change and adaptation, the return of summer carries the return of heightened food needs which occur when school is out of session. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for non-profits, faith communities, and federal, state, and local governments to rethink traditional approaches to hunger during this time. A bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) is an example of using lessons learned during the pandemic as a guidebook for moving forward with innovative approaches to the issue of summer hunger. The Summer Meals Alternative Relief and Transportation Act (SMART) of 2021 establishes alternative service options to the traditional Summer Food Service Program (SFSP.)

The publicly funded Summer Food Service Program, which is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), allows organizations to feed children ages 18 and under at congregate meal sites. SFSP is an extremely successful and vital program for schools and other meal providers in areas with a high concentration of students. However, the program presents challenges for those in rural areas who live long distances from an SFSP site. Efforts such as the SMART Act seek to overcome this challenge by building upon previous USDA demonstration projects such as the Summer EBT program, which provides funds directly to families in the form of an Electronics Benefit Transfer card for the purchase of healthy meals, and Meals-to-You, which utilizes the United States Postal Service and other mail delivery services such as UPS to deliver meals directly to children without easy access to either a summer meal site or a grocery store. The SMART Act provides technical assistance to up to five states seeking to deliver meals directly to students’ homes.

Jeremy Everett, founder and Executive Director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty (BCHP), believes efforts such as the SMART Act are indicative of a positive way forward in the fight to end food insecurity among children in our country. “Ending child hunger in America is our moral imperative.  Senators Cornyn and Booker have given us another tool to answer that imperative in the SMART Act.  Two of our guiding values at BCHP are innovation and working across ideological divides to enact thoughtful solutions for solvable problems. Senators Booker and Cornyn are to be commended for showing how these values can inform public policy by pushing for children in the most remote U.S. communities to have access to consistent healthy food when school is out.  This is bipartisan legislation for the common good.”

In addition to championing new ways forward in addressing the challenges of food insecurity, BCHP has team members across the state who continue to work with school districts and other sponsoring organizations offering traditional meal programs and are enthusiastic about all the possibilities this summer will bring. 


 The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty is a capacity-building project that develops and implements strategies to end hunger through policy, education, research, community organizing and community development. BCHP works to increase food security by ensuring that every individual has access to three healthy meals a day, seven days a week. BCHP convenes federal, state and local government stakeholders with non-profits, faith communities and business leaders to create an efficient system of accountability that increases food security in Texas, the United States, and globally. Along with its office located within the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor, BCHP has offices located in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen and San Angelo.


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