SNA Urges Passage of School Meals Agreement

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner  

703-576-7526  

media@schoolnutrition.org  

SNA Urges Passage of School Meals Agreement  

 2022-06-22

ARLINGTON, VA – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) praised a new agreement to provide critical support to school meal programs prior to the  expiration of federal pandemic waivers. Set to expire June 30, the waivers have ensured students can access healthy school meals despite persistent supply chain, food cost and labor burdens. SNA urges Congress to swiftly pass The Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022.

The $3 billion package will provide the following assistance through School Year 2022/23:

  • Allow students  eligible for reduced-price meals to receive free meals
  • Increase federal reimbursements for every school lunch by 40 cents and every school breakfast by 15 cents, above the annual inflationary adjustment scheduled for July 1
  • Extend no-cost waivers, including those for schools unable to meet nutrition standards due to supply chain disruptions and to reduce administrative and reporting burdens   
  • Extend waivers for 2022 summer meal programs

“School nutrition professionals have withstood crippling supply chain breakdowns, rising prices and labor shortages in their efforts to provide students healthy meals, at a time when families are struggling with higher costs. With crucial federal waivers on the verge of expiring, this agreement offers school meal programs a lifeline to help build back toward normal operations,” said SNA President Beth Wallace, MBA, SNS.

“SNA members are extremely grateful to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member John Boozman, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx for their consistent efforts to support school meal programs and to Congressional leaders for bringing this critical agreement to the floor,” said Wallace.

SNA members have reported an ongoing struggle to obtain sufficient food and supplies for their programs, as manufacturers discontinue products ranging from low-sodium chicken breasts to low-fat milk cartons and yogurt cups. Members have reported shortages of as many as 150-200 menu items per order, which send short-staffed school nutrition teams scrambling to secure healthy menu substitutions for their students. School nutrition directors across the country report unprecedented price increases, including a 280% increase in the cost of a case of gloves and 137% increase on whole grain bread.

“SNA appreciates ongoing efforts of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to address persistent supply chain challenges and USDA’s commitment to avert penalties for schools unable to comply with meal pattern requirements due to these disruptions,” said Wallace. “We will continue to work with USDA next school year as we seek solutions to support school nutrition professionals and ensure the financial sustainability of meal programs for the students they serve.”

SNA’s 2022 Position Paper, released in January, urged Congress to extend pandemic-related child nutrition waivers and to permanently increase school meal reimbursement rates, offer free school meals to all students and ease regulatory requirements. 

About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 50,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For more information on school meals, visit  www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals.

 

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