Tuesday Morning - May 31, 2022

1 big thing—Listening sessions re: White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health

What’s new: SNA encourages all members to participate in upcoming White House virtual, regional listening sessions to discuss the role of school nutrition programs in the effort to combat child hunger and diet-related diseases in communities. These listening sessions are open to the public and provided in the lead up to the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health which will be hosted in September. 

What’s next: You can register using the links below. For helpful talking points on the benefits of school meals, download SNA’s School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program one pagers. 

  • South: June 1, 2022, 11 am-1 pm EDT/10 am-12 pm CDT/9 am-11 am MDT. Register here.* 

  • Midwest & Mountains: June 3, 2022, 1-3 pm EDT/12 pm-2 pm CDT/11 am-1 pm MDT. Register here.* 

  • Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands: June 7, 2022, 10 am-12 pm EDT. Register here.* 

  • West Coast & Pacific: June 9, 3 pm-5 pm PDT. Register here.* 

  • Spanish-only (all regions): June 13, 2022, 1 pm-3 pm EDT. Register here

*Language interpreters offered in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. 

2. Smart Snacks in School Guide  

usda smart snacks guide cover

What’s new: USDA’s Team Nutrition has published a new Guide to Smart Snacks in School

Why it matters: This booklet gives easy-to-understand tips on how to meet Smart Snacks standards and why they are important. You can share this resource with school principals who oversee vending contracts, snack bar managers, fundraising chairs, and local school wellness policy coordinators.  

3. Comment request: LFS Cooperative Agreement Program 

USDA Request for Comment

What’s new: USDA is proposing an emergency information collection needed for the Agricultural Marketing Service to administer a new noncompetitive cooperative agreement program for the purchase of local foods for distribution to schools. 

Why it matters: Comments are requested on the efficiency and necessity of the estimated burden of this information collection on respondents in State, Local and Tribal governments.  

What’s Next: Comments are due by June 27 and may be submitted through www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain. Find this information collection by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments.” 

4. FRAC Large School District Pandemic Report

Schools in Lunch Line

What’s new: A Food Research & Action Center report, Large School District Report: Operating School Nutrition Programs During the Pandemic, released May 23, found that of the 62 large school districts surveyed, representing 9,188 schools nationwide, 98% identified supply chain distribution as a challenge and 95% identified labor shortages as a challenge. 

Go deeper: These findings are in line with SNA’s 2021 Supply Chain Survey which found that 97% of meal programs reported challenges with higher costs and 95% reported staff shortages. 

Pandemic child nutrition waivers, set to expire on June 30, kept school meal programs financially afloat by reimbursing free meals at a higher rate to account for rising food, supply and labor costs. SNA continues to urge Congress to provide USDA authority to extend these critical waivers.  

What’s next: You can take action from home by sending your legislators an email,  a tweet, or calling their office. As we approach Congress’ summer recess, now is also good time to start planning a Cafeteria Site Visit so legislators can see firsthand the impact of your program on your community. 

 

5. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed into law a bill that will mandate school lunches to include plant-based food options that meet federal nutritional requirements.

  • This mandate also requires that halal meal options be available for Muslim students.

  • This legislation was sponsored by Representative Cyril Nichols and Senator Dave Koehler. Read more 

The Vermont House and Senate have passed S.100, the “Universal School Meals Act.” This legislation also requires the Vermont Agency of Education to submit a report to the General Assembly containing data on student participation rates in the universal meals program on an individual school level and, if possible, on a grade level; the relationship of federal rules to the State-funded program; and strategies for minimizing the use of State funds.

  • This data will serve to identify the amount and sources of potential long-term funding for universal school meals.

  • Governor Phil Scott is expected to sign this legislation into law.  

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