Tuesday Morning - September 17, 2019

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues
from SNA

Table of Contents

Federal Policy

SNA Comments on Collection Process for Food Distribution Programs
Share Your Knowledge as an Afterschool Meals Champion
School Preventing Hunger in At-Risk Kids (SPARK) Act
October is National Farm to School Month
USDA Announces the Completion of Interim Rules and Subsequent Withdrawal of Proposed Rules
FNS Publishes Evaluation for Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price

State Snapshots

Nebraska Introduces Bill to Examine Issues Related to Food Insecurity

Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars
FRAC: Afterschool Meals Matter Webinar
FNS: Are You Ready for the CSFP Food Package Changes?

Mystery Chat Corner

Federal Policy

SNA Comments on Collection Process for Food Distribution Programs

SNA submitted comments on the Federal Register Notice, Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request—Food Distribution Programs, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on July 12, 2019. SNA suggests that the data collection should be streamlined to reduce the workload for program administrators and operators. SNA also cited the USDA’s Child Nutrition Burden Study Analysis Report, which offers several recommendations that may lessen administrative burdens, especially during the reporting process. Read the full comment letter for more details.

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Share Your Knowledge as an Afterschool Meals Champion

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is seeking passionate individuals who will help to further their work on expanding access to afterschool meals through the CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program. No Kid Hungry will select champions from a variety of roles and organizations across the country with a strong preference for those with direct experience supporting or implementing the program on the ground. For more details on No Kid Hungry’s first-ever afterschool champions cohort, including expectations, stipend and the application, please visit the No Kid Hungry website or contact Carolyn Wait at cwait@strength.org. Applications are due by Friday, October 11, 2019.

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School Preventing Hunger in At-Risk Kids (SPARK) Act

U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), David Trone (D-MD) and Don Bacon (R-NE) have introduced H.R. 4259, the Schools Preventing Hunger in At-Risk Kids (SPARK) Act, a bipartisan bill that extends categorical eligibility to over 400,000 children who currently live with grandparents or in other arrangements such as kinship care. “This bill ensures no child falls through the cracks of school meal programs – the source of some children’s only healthy meal of the day – so they can focus on school and not on their empty stomach,” said Rep. Wild. Read Representative Wild’s full press release here.

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October is National Farm to School Month

The National Farm to School Network is celebrating this October as National Farm to School Month! Across the country, schools, early education sites, farms and communities will come together to celebrate food education, school gardens and the ability to supply local, healthy ingredients for school meals. The Farm to School Network has provided several free resources for the planning and promotion of this month, including a new Farm to School Month Celebration Toolkit and a social media blog for others to share stories about farm-to-school innovations and how this program is empowering children and their families to make informed food choices.

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USDA Announces the Completion of Interim Rules and Subsequent Withdrawal of Proposed Rules

On September 10, 2019, USDA issued two separate Federal Register notices, both in response to USDA’s Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The first notice announced the Completion of Interim Rules, including the Direct Certification and Certification of Homeless, Migrant and Runaway Children Interim Rule. The second notice is the subsequent Withdrawal of Certain Proposed Rules, removing prior proposals concerning “inactive” regulatory actions that were under review but decidedly not included in the unified agenda. This action is part of USDA’s effort to reduce its regulatory backlog and focus its resources on higher priorities. These notices took effect on September 10, 2019.

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FNS Publishes Evaluation for Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price

USDA FNS published the report, Evaluation of the Direct Certification with Medicaid (DCM) for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (F/RP) Demonstration. This report evaluates the ability of individual states and school districts to identify and directly certify eligible students for free or reduced-price meals by using information from Medicaid data files. This report describes the implementation process and explores the effects it has on certification, participation, Federal reimbursements and State administrative costs. FNS evaluated these new demonstrations to assess the means and resources used, the challenges encountered in conducting data matches, the impacts on student certification and overall participation in National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the costs associated. Read the full report here.

Main findings:

  • Direct certification through Medicare resulted in an incremental increase in the number and percentage of students certified for free and reduced-price meals, but effects varied across states.
  • Changes in certification rates had mixed, limited effects on participation rates.
  • Direct certification also had mixed impacts on Federal reimbursement costs.
  • Implementation was generally successful, but timelines for implementation were longer than expected due to the complexities of conducting data matches.
  • State administrative costs were modest; most of the costs were associated with startup expenses.

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State Snapshots

Nebraska Introduces Bill to Examine Issues Related to Food Insecurity

The Nebraska state legislature has introduced LR135, a bill that would create an interim study to scrutinize issues surrounding food insecurity in Nebraska communities. This study will focus on the barriers and inefficiencies that occur when expanding or implementing programs that help to reduce food insecurity. Programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Community Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and the School Lunch Program (SLP). This bill is referred to the Health and Human Services Committee, and a hearing is scheduled for September 27, 2019.

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Mark Your Calendars

SNA's Upcoming Webinars

Visit the SNA Training Zone to register for our upcoming webinars and learn more about hosting your legislator for a cafeteria site visit and implementing a farm-to-table program. Plus, register for three additional webinar opportunities in October! If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.

Best of #ANC19: Farm to Table: A Small District Approach to Partnership in Nutrition
Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
As presented at #ANC19, learn how one school district in rural Georgia increased their nutritional awareness, school meal participation and student and staff education through the implementation of a farm-to-school program.

Host a Legislator: Cafeteria Site Visit
Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
With the 2020 elections around the corner, your legislators are looking for an opportunity to engage with your school and the community. Join SNA and a panel of experienced school nutrition professionals to get an exclusive look at how to host a legislator during a cafeteria site visit. This webinar will feature an update on Cafeteria Site Visit resources, information on what to expect when conducting a visit, and tips on how to earn support for your essential programs.

Best of #ANC19: Social Media: Marketing Strategies to Build Your Following
Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Learn how to craft simple social media strategies to achieve your goals on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and discover excellent marketing ideas to accelerate your program’s growth. Keeping up on the latest social media trends and targeting each social media platform’s specific audience is essential for your program’s success.

ANC Ideas@Work: Small District? Make the Most of Your Resources
Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Calling all directors from small districts! As a small district, you know that you need to make the most of all available resources… especially human resources. Join Laura Lynn to learn how to include managers and kitchen staff in the broader decision-making process so that your small team is empowered to do GREAT things.

Best of #ANC19: Redesign Your Serving Line
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 2:00 pm ET
Learn simple, easy and cost-effective ways to redesign your cafeteria line and create an inviting space for everyone that walks into the cafeteria!

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FRAC: Afterschool Meals Matter Webinar

The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is hosting a webinar on some of the opportunities and challenges in child nutrition programs, specifically, the Afterschool Meal Program (AMP). Taking place on September 19, 2019 (1:00-2:00 pm EDT), this webinar will cover the ten things operators should know about managing an AMP, including resources for getting started, program expansion, eligibility requirements and current participation data. Register here.

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FNS: Are You Ready for the CSFP Food Package Changes?

On Thursday, September 19, 2019 (1:00-2:00 pm EDT), FNS is hosting a webinar on the enhanced Food Package for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) that set to go into effect November 1. This webinar will cover transition updates concerning direct shipment purchases, food availability from the National Warehouses, including when to expect new foods and what package sizes for multi-food ordering. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask any additional questions before implementing the enhanced food package. Register here.

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Mystery Chat Corner

On September 17, 1862, Union forces held back a Confederate invasion in Maryland during this Civil War battle?
The battle of Antietam, where 23,100 soldiers were either killed, wounded or captured – it remains the bloodiest day in U.S. military history.

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