Tuesday Morning - May 24, 2022

1 big thing—White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition & Health

Things to do

What’s new: The White House held its second stakeholder briefing to share updates ahead of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition & Health scheduled for September. 

Why it matters: SNA is in communication with the Administration to identify opportunities to represent the role of school nutrition professionals in the national plan to eliminate food insecurity and ensure nutritious food is accessible to all. 

What’s next: During the briefing, the White House announced regional listening sessions and two website updates to expect in the coming weeks. These website updates will include a toolkit for external partners to help guide their meetings and an online portal for the public to submit their own stories and comment.  

2. USDA FNS upcoming studies and evaluations

USDA logo

What’s new: USDA Food and Nutrition Services released a forecast of studies, evaluations and projects it expects to pursue in Fiscal Year 2022. School Nutrition Program projects include:  

  • Evaluation Support for Healthy School Meal Practices  This effort would provide evaluation support to test different activities that support serving healthy meals and improving the school nutrition environment.  

  • School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS)- 2  The overall purpose of this comprehensive study is to examine the nutritional content and quality of the meals offered and purchased at school, plate waste, the school nutrition environment, school food service operations, cost to produce school meals, as well as student participation, characteristics, satisfaction and attitudes towards the school lunch and breakfast programs.  

  • Measuring the Full Benefit of a School Meal  This would attempt to quantify the opportunity costs of participating/not participating in school meals, including any impacts to families participating in schools with universal free meals (meals at no cost to the student). Differential impacts by family income, race/ethnicity and geographical location will be examined.  

  • Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: Report to Congress  This project will generate the required annual report to Congress on the effectiveness of State and local efforts to certify Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant children for free school meals without the need for household applications.   

  • Evaluation of Direct Certification for School Meals with Medicaid  This project will provide evaluation support for SY2022-23 planned expansion of direct certification with Medicaid (DC-M) demonstrations.  

3. California to become first state with Universal Meals Program

state of California

What’s new: California will become the first state to implement a statewide Universal Meals Program beginning in School Year (SY) 2022–23.   

Why it matters: The state budget proposal includes $611.8 million in ongoing funding in addition to the $650 million in ongoing funding to support school meals and $450 in one-time funding for kitchen infrastructure and equipment. California’s Universal Meals Program is designed to build on the foundations of the federal National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Three key pillars have been established to ensure the success of the program:  

  • This mandate is expanded to include both breakfast and lunch for all children each school day. 

  • High poverty schools will be required to participate in a federal provision. 

  • The California State Legislature allocates funds to provide additional state meal reimbursement to cover the cost of the Universal Meals Program. 

To learn more about California’s Universal Meal Program, please visit the State’s Department of Education Website.  

4. 2022 Team Nutrition grants

What’s new: The USDA has announced eight states as the recipients of over $7 million in FY 2022 Team Nutrition Training Grants.  

Why it matters: Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia and Alabama will use these grants to help build and retain a strong school nutrition workforce and implement transitional meal pattern standards during the upcoming school year. 

What’s next: To learn more about Team Nutrition Grants, please visit the USDA website


5. Supply chain listening sessions

magnifying glass, looking for volunteers

What’s new: The School Nutrition Foundation is partnering with No Kid Hungry to learn more about how school nutrition professionals are struggling with supply chain problems. 

The bottom line: If you’re a director or supervisor in a district with 25,000-49,999 students, we want to hear from you in our ongoing Listening Session project.

What’s next: Those who participate will be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards to be used to support your school nutrition operation. 

6. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

Maine State Senator Donna Bailey introduced an amendment to current statute to add students in private schools that enroll at least 60% publicly funded students and that participate in the National School Lunch Program to the State's school lunch and milk program and requires the State to provide funding to those private schools for the difference in cost not covered by federal reimbursement.  

New Jersey Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer has introduced legislation that would require schools to purchase locally grown or sourced produce, when available.

  • This measure would also require the implementation of a process for farmers to donate surplus produce to schools.

  • This bill has been referred to the Agriculture and Food Security Committee. 

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