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SNA Welcomes Biden Proposal to Expand Access to Free School Meals

2021-04-28

SNA Welcomes Biden Proposal to Expand Access to Free School Meals 

ARLINGTON, VA – The non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) welcomed President Biden’s proposal to allow more schools to participate in the successful Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as part of The American Families Plan.   

“For schools that are able to participate, the Community Eligibility Provision has been a tremendous benefit to students, families and school nutrition professionals,” said SNA President Reggie Ross, SNS. CEP allows high poverty schools to serve free school breakfast and lunch to all students. Families are not required to complete the complex free and reduced-price meal application, relieving school nutrition programs of burdensome paperwork, processing and free meal eligibility verification. 

“CEP ensures every child can eat a healthy meal without having to worry about whether they have enough money in their accounts and wipes out the stigma for kids who depend on free school meals,” said Ross. 

Many CEP-eligible schools do not currently participate in the program because the reimbursement formula does not allow the program to claim all school meals at the free rate, making CEP financially untenable. “Any effort to enable more schools to participate in CEP will increase access to healthy school meals in needy communities.” 

SNA is urging Congress and the administration to permanently provide school breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge as part of their educational experience. “Research shows school cafeterias are the healthiest place for our children to eat,” said Ross. “It’s time to eliminate barriers to healthy school meals to ensure every child is nourished and ready to learn.” 

SNA also welcomed the proposal to expand direct certification with Medicaid for free and reduced price meals, as well as a proposed demonstration to provide additional funding to schools exceeding school meal standards. “Even prior to the pandemic, school meal programs operated on extremely tight budgets and have faced financial challenges as they have served students more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-sodium entrees,” said Ross.  

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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