Tuesday Morning - March 1, 2022

1 big thing: Take action! Speak up for school nutrition program waivers

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Use your voice! Contact your legislators to urge support for H.R. 6613, Keeping School Meals Flexible Act.

Why it matters: The Keeping School Meals Flexible Act would extend the expiration date for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authority to establish, grant or extend child nutrition waivers through the upcoming school year, ending on June 30, 2023.

The bottom line: Without USDA authority to extend the waivers, they will expire in June 2022.

Our thought bubble: “Child nutrition waivers are crucial for school meal programs as they manage persistent supply chain disruptions and continuously adapt meal services to provide students safe access to healthy meals throughout the pandemic,” said SNA President Beth Wallace, MBA, SNS.

Take action! Visit SNA's Action Network to send a letter to your representative in support of H.R. 6613 and waiver extensions.

 

2. Revised Position Paper and resources

2022 Position Paper

What’s new:  SNA’s 2022 Position Paper, talking points and infographic have been updated in response to the release of the “transitional rule” on school meal standards and USDA’s announcement of an upcoming Proposed Rule scheduled for the fall.

Why it matters: Current school nutrition standards require meals to offer fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, and limit calories, saturated fat and sodium.

  • These rules have ensured students receive their healthiest meals at school, as research shows. Future rules will only succeed if students continue to consume school meals. Congress and USDA must work with school nutrition professionals to guarantee the long-term standards are both achievable and acceptable to students.

The bottom line: SNA is urging Congress to ensure future nutrition standards are achievable and keep students eating and enjoying school meals.

What’s next: Download and review the updated 2022 Position Paper, nutrition standards fact sheet, talking points and infographic. Find other tools, including sample tweets and social posts on the LAC Resources page

3. Countdown to #LAC22

LAC 2022

What’s new: Only five days until SNA’s 2022 Legislative Action Conference and we have some exciting updates to share.

1.      Be sure to visit the updated LAC Resources page which now includes a customizable press release to promote your participation in LAC to your local media outlets.

2.     Review the revised 2022 Position Paper and talking points.

3.     Download the free LAC Mobile App on your mobile device to connect with your colleagues, create your schedule and access conference resources! Search for “SNA Conferences” available in the Apple or Google Play app store.

4.     Join us for tomorrow’s School Meal Advocacy in 2022 webinar to gain tips for successful advocacy at LAC and beyond!

What's next: Safe travels and we’ll see you in Washington, D.C. for #LAC22!

4. SNA endorses new bills introduced in Congress

Our Nation’s Capital

What’s new: U.S. Representative McGovern (D-MA), introduced H.R.6743, the Level Up Nutrition for Children in Every School, or LUNCHES Act.

Why it matters: This bill would help school districts provide students with healthy food by reimbursing them for the increased cost of producing school lunches. Additionally, it would permanently increase the reimbursement rate for lunches by 49-cents.

Go deeper: A 2019 study from the USDA found a 49-cent difference between the actual cost to produce the lunch and the rate schools are reimbursed.

Our thought bubble: SNA President Beth Wallace, MBA, SNS, said the following:

  • “School nutrition professionals are always working to offer students more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and on-trend menu options to get kids excited about eating healthy school lunches.” 

  • “These menu improvements cost more money, and school meal program budgets are extremely tight, especially in light of rising pandemic costs. The LUNCHES Act of 2022 will provide critical funds to boost investments in healthy choices that fuel student success in and out of the classroom.”

Rep. McGovern also introduced H.R. 6718, The Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act. This bill would strengthen and enhance the School Breakfast Program so that additional federal support is available to participating schools.

Why it matters: The amount of USDA Foods that schools receive for breakfast is currently based only on the number of lunches served— the Healthy Breakfasts Help Kids Learn Act would provide schools with an additional 6 cents in commodity support for every school breakfast served.

5. State legislative update

Map of US

California state Senator Josh Becker introduced a bill that would extend the state’s Universal Meals Program to state licensed day care providers. This measure states that all meals will be reimbursed if they comply with federal nutrition standards. The Universal Meals Program was approved on July 9, 2021, and will be implemented in school year 2022-23.

In New Hampshire, the House Education Committee voted against a bill introduced by state Representative Brodie Deshaies to provide public school students a period of 30 minutes to eat lunch.

Go deeper: Review the latest legislative trends in your area in SNA’s 2021 4th Quarter State Legislative Report.

  • You can also check for your state’s convene and adjourn dates here.

 

6. Federal Register: Revision of SBP Record Collection

Schools in Lunch Line

What’s new: The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released the report, The Reach of Breakfast and Lunch: A Look at Pandemic and Pre-pandemic Participation.

Why it matters: This report reviews breakfast and lunch participation rates for children before and after the pandemic.

By the numbers: The report found that the reach of breakfast and lunch during the 2020–21 school year decreased when compared to the first year of the pandemic (2019–20 school year) and before the pandemic (2018–19 school year). 

What’s next: Speak up now in support of school nutrition program waiver extensions so schools can continue to feed hungry students.

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