Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-576-7526
ARLINGTON, Va.—The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) praised the Biden Administration’s bold commitment to advance “free healthy school meals for all.” Released today, The National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health pledges to take a major first step by working to expand the Community Eligibility Provision, making free school meals available to 9 million more children.
“A healthy school meal is integral to the school day, and no child should go without due to inability to pay,” said SNA President Lori Adkins, MS, SNS, CHE. “Offering free school meals to all children ensures students are nourished for success. Research shows school meals support academic achievement and are the healthiest meals children eat.”
Federal waivers permitting all schools to offer free meals during the pandemic have expired, forcing schools to return to charging students for meals if they are not eligible and enrolled in the Free and Reduced-Price meal program. Adkins and SNA CEO Patricia Montague, FASAE, CAE, will participate in tomorrow’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Heath and plan to discuss the positive impact of free school meals for all on students, families and school meal programs.
“School nutrition professionals have shared heartbreaking stories of families who don’t qualify for meal benefits but are still struggling to feed their children,” said Montague. “Short-staffed school nutrition teams shouldn’t have to worry about processing applications and determining which children are eligible for a free meal – they should be able to focus on nourishing all of their students. Many school meal programs have already accumulated unpaid meal debt, which can cut into education funds.”
SNA’s 2022 Position Paper urges Congress to offer free school meals to all students.
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.