Tuesday Morning - December 14, 2021

Tuesday Morning
Good Morning! Notice anything different? We’re excited to unveil the revamped Tuesday Morning.We know time is valuable. This new format will deliver school nutrition news, including the latest federal and state policy issues, in 5 minutes or less. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Let’s dig in to this week’s update.
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Tuesday Morning
By SNA Government Affairs & Media RelationsDec 14, 2021

Smart Brevity™ count: 5 mins... 1283 words

Good Morning! Notice anything different? We’re excited to unveil the revamped Tuesday Morning.

  • We know time is valuable. This new format will deliver school nutrition news, including the latest federal and state policy issues, in 5 minutes or less. 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Let’s dig in to this week’s update.

Table of Contents

1. One big thing: School meal programs grapple with supply chain fallout
2. Registration for #LAC22 now open
3. Federal & state policy updates
4. SNA & No Kid Hungry brief policy makers on challenges
5. Earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from SNA webinars
6. Take action! Share your story on supply chain disruption 

One big thing: School meal programs grapple with supply chain fallout

Empty shelfs in a swiss food store, because of the coronavirus crisis.

SNA’s new survey of 1,212 school meal program directors reveals extensive impacts of supply chain and staffing challenges on school meal programs' financial and operational sustainability.

Why it matters:  Survey results underscore the importance of USDA pandemic waivers and the urgent need for pandemic waiver extensions through SY2022-23.

Big picture: Top three challenges, cited by over 98% of respondents, are:

  1. Menu items not available in sufficient quantities/shortages.

  2. Supplies/packaging not available in sufficient quantities.

  3. Menu items discontinued by a manufacturer.

Over three quarters of respondents indicated these three issues are “significant challenges.”

Yes, but: National labor shortages are also impacting school meal programs.

  • Nearly all survey respondents (95%) indicated staff shortages are a challenge for their program.

  • Staffing is a greater concern for large school districts serving more than 25,000 students. Nearly 90% reported a “significant challenge.”

Financial hurdles persist despite the higher reimbursement rate offered this school year.

  • 97% of respondents are challenged by higher costs, compared to contracted bids.

  • 38% of responding school meal programs closed SY2020-21 with an overall net loss.

  • Only about half of school meal programs indicate current reimbursement rates are sufficient to cover the costs of producing meals. 

Go deeper: Read more about  SNA’s 2021 Supply Chain Survey.

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2. Registration for #LAC22 now open

SNA Legislative Action Conference 2022

What’s new: SNA’s 2022 Legislative Action Conference (LAC) will take place March 6-8, 2022, at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Why it matters:  This premiere event provides an opportunity to build and grow relationships that will shape federal school nutrition policies.

  • Meet with your legislators to increase their understanding and knowledge of the scope and complexity of school nutrition programs.

  • Join SNA members and school nutrition advocates to make a positive impact on the future of child nutrition.

The #LAC22 agenda features a variety of sessions designed to help SNA members, allies and advocates share their stories and collaborate effectively with federal policymakers.

  • Hear from Washington insiders and compelling keynote speakers, including political analyst, Amy Walter.

  • Learn how to “Author” a Successful Campaign to Win Over Your Legislators…and the Public Too at LAC’s pre-conference workshop.

  • Together Again Gala on March 7, 2022, will honor SNA members and their accomplishments, and feature dinner, drinks and dancing to the Rollex Band, one of the most popular bands on the east Coast.

What's next:  Register by January 7, 2022, to take advantage of early-bird registration. 

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3. Federal & state policy updates

The dome of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

What’s new: Our Government Affairs team continues to monitor legislative activity in Congress and initiatives by the USDA as it relates to school meals.

🔎 Let’s look at the latest federal updates…

SNA endorses Military Dependents School Meal Eligibility Act. 

💬Our thought bubble: “By directly certifying eligible students for school meals, we can support the health and success of military dependents and ease burdens on our active-duty service members," says SNA President Beth Wallace. 

USDA announced additional funding to mitigate supply chain disruptions.

1) The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) will award up to $400 million for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods.  Learn more.

2) $100 million will be deployed under the new  Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program to strengthen critical supply chains and the U.S. food system.

  • What they’re saying: “This program guarantees loans of up to $40 million for qualified lenders to finance food systems projects, specifically for the start-up or expansion of activities in the middle of the food supply chain.” View fact sheet.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste, a report on food loss and waste (FLW) throughout the supply chain. The authors found:

  • Reducing FLW in retail and schools “will have minimal environmental benefits due to the relatively low current rate of FLW compared with other sectors.

  • Reducing halving FLW in households, restaurants, and the food processing sector will have the greatest environmental benefits.

🔎 Let’s look at the latest state updates…

New Jersey Bill aims to revise and rename the Office of the Food Insecurity Advocate with the intention to combat food insecurity and hunger in the state.


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4. SNA & No Kid Hungry brief policy makers on challenges

SNA & NKH Panel

SNA and No Kid Hungry  held a virtual Supply Chain Disruptions Roundtable last week to inform policy makers on the impact of supply chain disruptions on school nutrition programs.

  • What they're saying: SNA President Beth Wallace, SNA Board member Warren DeShields and SNAPA President Dimitra Barrios, educated participants, advocated for aid and discussed techniques for mitigating the impact of supply chain disruption on school meals. 

Key takeaways from the conversation include:

  • Staffing shortages are dire with many worried as labor drives what schools can offer.

  • The need to extend the USDA Waivers through SY2022-23 is critical.

  • With the extension of waivers, the reimbursement is at a higher rate and would provide a continuation of additional funds for programs to stay afloat. A higher reimbursement rate could provide anywhere from .50 to .60 cents in additional funds which are desperately needed to continue to feed to students.

  • SFA's need as much time as possible to plan for the next school year.

The bottom line: Congress/USDA needs to act now so that schools can begin planning for the next school year and have assurance of these current meal reimbursement rates.

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5. Earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from SNA webinars

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Webinar Wednesday

What’s new: SNA’s Webinar Wednesdays returns in January.

🌎January 12 at 3 p.m. EST: What in the World is GDSN? Supply Chain Challenges Made Simpler with Global Synchronization Network. Join us for the next webinar in SNA’s Supply Chain series sponsored by inTeam Associates.

  • Go deeper: Learn about the Global Data Synchronization Network and how it can help you better address current supply chain shortages. Register .

🍳February 2 at 3 p.m. EST: Breakfast Trends that will Help Power Up your Program: Brought to you by Kellogg’s, this webinar features a culinary demo by Chef Matt Jost on ways to liven up your breakfast menu.

  • Go deeper: Stefanie Dove from Kellogg’s will share current menu trends from other foodservice segments to help ignite your culinary inspiration for breakfast and beyond with ideas to effectively market your program to students, parents and your school communities. Register.

Learn more

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6. Take action! Share your story on supply chain disruption.

The SNA Action Network provides resources to stay informed and engaged on school nutrition policy issues.

  • Why it matters:  Learn the many ways you can help raise the collective voice of school nutrition programs.

✏️ Share your story: Has your program or company implemented creative strategies or formed partnerships that have been successful in helping you navigate supply chain challenges?

  • Share your best practices with us as we look to spotlight member successes in our professional development programming and advocacy efforts.

Learn more

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