On December 3, USDA released a memo clarifying the flexibility available to local educational agency (LEA) officials for establishing the effective date of eligibility for children certified for free or reduced price meals. It allows LEAs to establish the date of submission of a school meal application as the effective date of eligibility, rather than the date a school official approves the application. The goal is to allow students from food-insecure households access to free or reduced-price school meals during the eligibility determination period. For more information, please read the memo by clicking here.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA will award $11 million in kitchen equipment grants to fourteen states, the District of Columbia and Guam. The USDA announcement states that the grants are intended to “help schools purchase needed equipment to make preparing and serving healthier meals easier and more efficient for hardworking school food service professionals.”
The fourteen states were selected to receive grants based on free- and reduced-price participation in NSLP and greatest unmet need. They are Arkansas, California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. States will competitively award the funds to school districts to purchase needed equipment, with priority given to districts serving a high percentage of low-income children.
USDA’s announcement cites a new report demonstrating the need for additional kitchen equipment to help schools meet new nutrition standards. The report, ““Serving Healthy School Meals: U.S. Schools Need Updated Kitchen Equipment,” was also released today by the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
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