Tuesday Morning - July 19, 2022

1 big thing—Sign the petition: School meals at no charge

What’s new: Sign SNA’s new petition urging President Biden and the U.S. Congress to provide meals to all students at no charge. 

Why it matters: During the pandemic, the USDA issued waivers allowing all students to eat school meals at no cost. In SY2022-23, eligible families must apply to receive reduced-price or free meals, leaving millions of students at risk and forcing schools to take on skyrocketing unpaid meal debt that must be paid out of education funds. The only solution to ensure, safe, healthy and affordable school meals for every school student is for Congress to pass legislation that will provide them for all students free of charge–permanently. 

What’s next: Sign the SNA petition for school meals free of charge. Then share the link with your friends! 

2. SNA comments: White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition & Health

White House

What’s new: On June 15, SNA leadership and the Public Policy and Legislation Committee convened to discuss the role of school nutrition programs as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s national effort to end hunger and increase healthy eating by 2030. A letter summarizing insights from SNA’s meeting was provided to the White House. 

Go deeper: SNA’s letter shared research showing schools are the healthiest place Americans are eating and stressed that the NSLP and SBP are instrumental in combating malnutrition and obesity among American children. The letter also shared the significant concerns of growing unpaid meal debt, crippling labor shortages, paralyzing supply chain disruptions, rigid nutrition standards, and mental health/stigma challenges facing participating students. 

The bottom line: SNA urged the Administration to implement healthy meals for all students free of charge on a permanent basis. 

3. Federal Register: Value of donated foods

USDA logo

What’s new: The USDA has published a notice announcing the national average value of donated foods for the period of July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. 

Why it matters: This notice establishes national average minimum value of donated foods, or cash in lieu thereof, per lunch under the NSLP at 30.00 cents. This represents an increase of 4 cents from SY2022.   

4. Second allocation of Supply Chain Assistance (SCA) Funds

Stacked money

What’s new: The USDA has published a memorandum regarding the allocation of $943 million to allow local school districts, struggling with supply chain challenges, to purchase food for school meals. 

Go deeper: The memorandum provides guidance to State agencies on the allocation and use of these funds, as well as record keeping and reporting. Key dates and deadlines, and supply chain assistance funding allocation by state is also included.  

5. State legislative update

Map of US

New Jersey State Representative Carol Murphy introduced Assembly Bill 4435 to provide anti-stigmatization protections to public school students whose school meals are in arrears.

  • This measure also requires school districts to communicate about arrearages to parents and not to students. 

U.S. Representative Jim McGovern went on a tour of summer meal sites in his district.

  • He visited the Chestnut Hill Community School cafeteria in Belchertown, MA during lunchtime, where he was able to meet the school district’s “lunch lady,” Ms. Shirlon Edwards, and observe the operation of their Summer Eats program.

  • During his visit he not only praised the Summer Eats program, but he also advocated for free universal meals year-round.

  • Click here to learn more about this story. 

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