Tuesday Morning - September 7, 2021

An Update on Federal and State Policy Issues from SNA

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Secretary Vilsack Met with SNA and Allied Organizations on School Meals for All
Take Action: Urge Congress to Work with USDA to Address Critical Supply Issues
Team Nutrition Releases New Back-to-School Resources
FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

Federal Policy

Congressmen DeSaulnier Sends out Sign-on Letter to Combat Child Hunger in Reconciliation
Federal Register: Correction to Reimbursement Rates for SY2021-22
Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act
OCFS Publishes Farm to School Application Guidance and Resources

State Snapshots

Illinois Introduces Bill Requiring Schools to Provide Plant-Based Lunch Option
Massachusetts Presents Bill to Appropriate Funding to Reimburse Schools for Meals
Washington, D.C., Drafts Nutrition Equity Amendment Act of 2021

Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA Webinars
Congressional Management Foundation
Team Nutrition
Louisiana Fit Kids

Mystery Chat Corner

COVID-19 Policy Updates

USDA Secretary Vilsack Met with SNA and Allied Organizations on School Meals for All

On September 2, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack, along with other representatives from USDA, met virtually with SNA, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and other allied organizations to discuss the importance of Healthy School Meals for All. During this meeting, each organization shared personal testimony on the critical importance of Healthy School Meals for All and the educational benefits of each student receiving a healthy, nutritious meal. SNA CEO Patricia Montague also shared member testimony on the current supply chain disruptions impacting school nutrition professionals and thanked Secretary Vilsack for current COVID waivers. Secretary Vilsack committed to working with all organizations and with Members of Congress on identifying ways to advocate for universal meals moving forward.

Take Action: Urge Congress to Work with USDA to Address Critical Supply Issues

On August 23, SNA sent its letter of recommendations to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack on current supply chain disruptions and how USDA can ease pressure on school nutrition programs struggling with procurement issues. SNA continues to monitor supply chain disruptions and their impact on school meal programs. Take Action Now! Share SNA's letter with your Member of Congress and urge them to work with USDA on the latest supply chain issues affecting school meal programs.

Team Nutrition Releases New Back-to-School Resources

This week, FNS' Team Nutrition published new promotional materials to celebrate and help promote healthy school foods for the 2021-22 school year. These new resources include an infographic for the School Community (English and Spanish), fun buttons for school nutrition professionals and thank you cards for students to thank foodservice members in their school. Learn more from USDA's Team Nutrition about school lunch and breakfast and download fun nutrition activity booklets.

FNS Posts New State Guidance on COVID P-EBT

On September 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published updated state guidance on Coronavirus Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). P-EBT provides eligible school children with temporary emergency nutrition benefits for purchasing food. This guidance includes a P-EBT Policy Memo for the 2021-22 School Year and a State Plan to assist State Agencies administering this program.

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covid19-image

The school nutrition team at Jamestown Public Schools in southern New York is preparing breakfasts to go for their Elementary and Middle School students to grab on their way to class each morning!

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Federal Policy

Congressmen DeSaulnier Sends out Sign-on Letter to Combat Child Hunger in Reconciliation

Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent out a sign-on letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), urging for a $100 billion investment in child nutrition programs and policies. This letter calls for the passage of H.R. 3115, the Universal School Meals Program Act, and cites SNA's research that shows "school meal program directors across the country reported that serving school meals to all students during the pandemic increased access, improved equity and fueled a large decrease in unpaid school meals debt." This letter also articulates support for H.R. 4379, the School Food Modernization Act, as part of the reconciliation package. Read Congressmen DeSaulnier's full letter.

Federal Register: Correction to Reimbursement Rates for SY2021-22

On August 31, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the Federal Register notice, "National School Lunch, Special Milk and School Breakfast Programs, National Average Payments/Maximum Reimbursement Rates; Correction." This notice serves as a correction for a previous notice published in July. It corrects a section of the chart displaying the reimbursement rates, specifically the reimbursement for the Contiguous States under the reduced-price category from "$3.59" to "$3.50."

Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act

Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced S. 1270, the Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act. This legislation aims to invest in and improve the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to make it easier for childcare providers to serve nutritious, healthy meals for young children. This Act would reduce the CACFP area eligibility threshold requirement from 50% to 40% and expand access to healthy CACFP meals and snacks to children who are still too young to attend school. Read Senator Casey's full press release.

OCFS Publishes Farm to School Application Guidance and Resources

Last week, USDA's Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) released new farm-to-school resources, along with a summary of requirements for a no-cost extension of Farm to School Grants. These helpful resources were designed to assist schools and farm-to-school stakeholders in building farm to school programs and submitting applications for financial assistance. Resources include a new Farm to School Planning Toolkit, Farm to Child Nutrition Program Planning Guide and Local Wellness Policy resources.

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State Snapshots

Illinois Introduces Bill Requiring Schools to Provide Plant-Based Lunch Option

HB 4089 requires all public school districts to provide a plant-based lunch option to those students who have submitted a formal request seeking a plant-based alternative.

Massachusetts Presents Bill to Appropriate Funding to Reimburse Schools for Meals

HB 4000 appropriates $5,314,176 as supplemental funding as partial reimbursements for schools serving school lunches through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). It also requires all public schools to publish and disseminate meal charge policies to parents and guardians for the upcoming school year.

Washington, D.C., Drafts Nutrition Equity Amendment Act of 2021

B24-0166 provides an additional $0.25 per meal in reimbursement to providers or vendors of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) when at least one component of the meal served is composed of a locally grown product.

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Mark Your Calendars

Upcoming SNA 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.

Bringing Nutritious, Affordable, and Delicious School Meals to Life while Managing Common Allergens
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Join speakers Sherry Coleman Collins, a registered dietitian, Chef Vahista Ussery, MS, MBA, RDN, and Dr. Samara Sterling as attendees hear creative ideas to meet the needs of today's savvy students while also providing an affordable, delicious meal. In this webinar, you will hear from nutrition experts as each review important nutrition considerations for menu planning and potential product selection while considering current supply chain challenges. Speakers will also offer best practices for managing common allergens in school meals.

Get WILD with Global Flavors
Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 3:00 PM EST
Increasing meal participation is critical for all programs. One of the driving questions many operators have is how to keep their menus relevant to the new generations of students while embracing the diversity of their students. Thanks to the adventurous palates of today's parents, your students have been exposed to, and come to love, many more dishes with global flavors than previous generations. Join us for an exciting panel discussion where we will show you how you can easily incorporate international flavors in your menu while keeping your food costs down, utilizing USDA Foods and basic pantry staples you likely have on hand.

Congressional Management Foundation

Using Research to Connect the Dots Between You and Your Lawmaker 
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Despite the narrative presented by Hollywood screenwriters and the mainstream media, lawmakers are human, too. Before being elected, these politicians have careers, attend school, volunteer and achieve college degrees. This presentation will explore some strategies for using research to help connect the dots between the issues you're advocating for and those on your member's current agenda.

Team Nutrition

CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays "Serving Snacks in the CACFP”  
3 p.m. EST Wednesday, December 1, 2021
The Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) Team Nutrition presents "Serving Snacks in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)." This webinar will demonstrate to CACFP operators how to plan and prepare snacks for children and adults in their care. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to the presenters and check their knowledge through interactive polling questions.

Louisiana Fit Kids

Understanding Childhood Obesity 
1:30 p.m. CT Tuesday, September 14, 2021
This webinar is part of a series by the Louisiana Department of Education and Pennington Biomedical Research Center as part of a USDA initiative to understand school nutrition and childhood obesity. The goal of this webinar is to help child nutrition personnel, teachers, school administrators, healthcare workers and administrators, social workers, researchers and other interested individuals understand childhood obesity, the most common chronic disease of childhood.

Mystery Chat Corner

On September 7, 1813, the New York Post first used which famous personification of the United States federal government, based on how U.S. soldiers interpreted the "U.S." printed on the side of barrels of beef during the War of 1812?

A: Uncle Sam

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Arlington, VA 22206
servicecenter@schoolnutrition.org  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

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