Tuesday Morning - May 12, 2020

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA To Buy $470M of Surplus Food
USDA Best Practices for Parent Pickup
CDC Provides Guidelines for School Nutrition Professionals
Pandemic-EBT Announced in More States

Federal Policy

Deadline Extended: Team Nutrition Training Grant for School Meal Recipe Development
USDA Expands Access to Online Food Purchase Program
USDA Approves $1.2 Billion in Contracts for Farmers to Families Food Box Program

State Snapshots

New Jersey Unpaid Meals Bill Introduced

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA To Buy $470M of Surplus Food

The USDA announced that it will spend $470 million to buy more surplus food to mitigate the supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19. The funds will be spent as a part of the authority USDA has for food purchases to help farmers and people in need through school meals, food banks and other programs. USDA will spend $120 million on surplus dairy, $50 million each of potatoes and turkey, and $35 million on strawberries. Other purchases include chicken, catfish, pollock, asparagus, sweet potatoes and orange juice. 

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USDA Best Practices for Parent Pickup

USDA’s Team Nutrition has provided best practices for parent pick-up of meals and snacks. This guidance supplements the nationwide waiver that allows schools to distribute meals and snacks to parents and guardians to give to their eligible child.

CDC Provides Guidelines for School Nutrition Professionals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for school nutrition professionals and volunteers. This updated resource includes tips for worker and environment safety. 

Pandemic-EBT Announced in More States

Additional states were approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced price meals dealing with school closures.

Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, North Dakota, West Virginia and Vermont will be able to operate Pandemic EBT, a supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school. Previous announcements of approvals for Pandemic EBT include: Michigan, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, IllinoisAlabama, Wisconsin, California, Connecticut,  Kansas, Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, Delaware, and Oregon.

covid19-imagejpg COVID-19 Stories From the Front Line

Typically, the most nutritious meals that the students get are the school cafeteria lunches. It makes me feel proud to be able to work at a job where our directors and supervisors are finding ways for the children to have access... I’m just doing what I have to do.” - Carolina Sisti, Austin ISD (TX)  

Federal Policy

Deadline Extended: Team Nutrition Training Grant for School Meal Recipe Development 

USDA has extended the deadline to apply for a Team Nutrition Training Grant for School Meal Recipe Development. State agencies that administer the School Meals programs have until May 27, 2020 to submit their applications through Grants.gov

USDA Expands Access to Online Food Purchase Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced approval of a request from New Mexico and Rhode Island to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. This approval will allow New Mexico and Rhode Island to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. SNAP  online purchasing is currently operational in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, New York, Oregon and Washington State. USDA previously announced the  District of ColumbiaWest VirginiaMissouriTexasVermont, Minnesota, Nevadaand Colorado would also be implementing online purchasing in the near future.

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USDA Approves $1.2Billionin Contracts for Farmers to Families Food Box Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved $1.2 billion in contracts to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

“This is a new, innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families, and USDA moved as expeditiously as federal procurement rules allow to stand up the program and solicit offers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Additional information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, including webinars and an FAQs, is available on the AMS website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box.

State Snapshots

New Jersey Unpaid Meals Bill Introduced 

The New Jersey legislature introduced A4020, a bill restricting actions a school may take when a student's school breakfast or school lunch bill is in arrears. The school may not publicly identify the student and must direct all communications to the parent or guardian. 

Mark Your Calendars

School Nutrition Association Webinars

Learn about hot topics in school nutrition and earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with SNA’s popular professional development webinars. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.  

Produce in a Pandemic: Providing children with Fresh Fruits 
Wednesday, May 13, 2:00 pm ET 
This webinar made possible in partnership with School Nutrition Association and United Fresh Produce Association will highlight how several school nutrition programs are sourcing and serving fresh produce, and share how produce companies are working with school nutrition customers and supply chain partners during this unprecedented time. 

COVID-19's Impact on School Nutrition: Emerging Best Practices and Preliminary Research Findings
Wednesday, May 20, 2:00 pm ET  
This webinar will provide an overview of research and best practices on feeding school-aged children and adolescents during COVID-19 school closures as a means to prevent food insecurity. All panelists are members of a Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN) ad hoc working group that includes academic institutions, advocacy and trade groups such as SNA, and liaisons from CDC and Healthy Eating Research (HER). Learn more here: https://nopren.org/covid19/.

Mystery Chat Corner

In 1971, on this date, what Rolling Stones singer married Bianca Perez Morena de Macias at a civil ceremony in the local town hall in the French Mediterranean town of St Tropez?
A: Mick Jagger

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