The Impact of COVID-19 Emergency Flexibilities and Waivers on Child Nutrition Programs in Massachusetts
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges and changes to federal child nutrition programs across the state of Massachusetts. While the USDA-instated waivers and flexibilties were a direct response to issues brought about by the pandemic including the disruption of school meal access and the need to maintain health and safety through social distancing protocols, the reduction of regulatory barriers had huge impacts on participation across the state.
The purpose of this report is to demonstrate how the COVID-19 emergency response became a catalyst for structures that promote greater accessibility, equity and reach and to assess future directions for supporting meal programs when schools are out of session.
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Publication tags: Field Reports - COVID-19 Pandemic, Emergency Food Network
Project Bread connects people and communities in Massachusetts to reliable sources of food while advocating for policies that make food more accessible—so that no one goes hungry.
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Michelle, a second-generation Iranian-American raised in Massachusetts, is an M.A. graduate of the University of Oregon’s (UO) International Studies and Food Studies Programs, a UO Promising Scholar and a David L. Boren Fellow. She comes to the Emerson Fellowship having recently returned from Rajasthan, India where she conducted research on the role grassroots movements and civil society organizations play in addressing barriers to organic production and farmer sovereignty among small, marginal and tribal producers. While in India, she worked as an economic justice and sustainable agriculture intern with the Centre for Community Economics & Development Consultants Society addressing issues related to hunger and poverty reduction, peoples’ participation in government and decision making, and the protection of human rights in the process of development. Prior to attending the University of Oregon, Michelle received her B.S. in Sustainable Food and Farming with honors from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she focused on diversified organic vegetable production and food system education. She was the co-founder of the UMass Food Forest Garden, ¾ acre edible forest landscape dedicated to teaching students and community members about regenerative and climate-resilient agriculture. Michelle’s work has been inspired by firsthand experience embedded within the food system as an organic farmer for three full seasons. Her commitment to food justice and food sovereignty was solidified during her undergraduate through her work with Food for All Program, an initiative that produces and recovers vegetables, herbs and flowers for local relief organizations in Amherst and through her service on the Grow Food Amherst Steering Committee.
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