Oct 07, 2022

Building Momentum for Healthy School Meals for All during National School Lunch Week, October 10-14

Deputy Director, School and Out-of-School Time Programs

October 10–14 is National School Lunch Week, an annual event celebrating the critical role that school lunch plays in providing children with the nutrition they need to learn and thrive both in and out of the classroom, as well as the tireless work of school nutrition departments across the country in connecting children to the nutrition they need to learn and thrive.
This year’s celebration comes on the heels of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and its landmark National Strategy, which sets an ambitious but achievable goal of ending hunger by 2030. A key part of this strategy is advancing a pathway to Healthy School Meals for All, which acknowledges that school meals are just as important to students’ academic success as textbooks or transportation.

Oct 06, 2022

Leveraging the Child Nutrition Programs to Provide Disaster Relief

Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst

With wildfires ravaging communities on the West Coast and hurricane season well underway on the East Coast, school districts and other operators of Child Nutrition Programs can work with their state child nutrition agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide critical nutrition support to students and their families.

When a major disaster declaration is issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), USDA has the authority to waive program requirements that limit access to meals in situations resulting from damage or disruptions due to natural or human-made disasters, or other exceptional emergency situations. These include, but are not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods. School districts and other entities that operate Child Nutrition Programs can work with their state child nutrition agency and USDA to apply for waivers from program requirements that would otherwise limit children’s access to meals.

Oct 05, 2022

Report Finds WIC Enhancements Result in Improved Access and Increased Participation During COVID-19

According to a new FRAC report, WIC waivers and enhancements during the pandemic have simultaneously removed access barriers and increased the value of participating in WIC, resulting in overall increases in program participation.
In February 2022, WIC reached 6.2 million participants, a 1.2 percent increase from February 2020. Learn more about the key findings.

Oct 03, 2022

USDA Releases Summer Food Service Program Rule to Streamline Requirements

Deputy Director, School and Out-of-School Time Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service recently released Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a final rule that aims to simplify and clarify SFSP program requirements while also removing administrative barriers for sponsors. The final rule went into effect October 1, 2022.
This blog includes a background on this process, key provisions in the final rule, and things to consider as the new regulations are implemented.

Sep 21, 2022

Pandemic EBT Guidance Released for the 2022–2023 School Year

Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst

The Pandemic EBT program was created to replace the free and reduced-price school meals that children lost access to due to school closures in the spring of 2020. Over time, the program has expanded to respond to the changing circumstances of the pandemic, children attending school under a hybrid model or COVID-19-related absences; to provide benefits to children under the age of 6 participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); to replace missed meals at child care; and to provide summer benefits. During the last two and a half years, this program has reached millions of children and provided billions of dollars in benefits to keep hungry children fed during a tumultuous time.
On September 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released guidance for school year 2022–2023 Pandemic EBT plans for both school-age students and children under 6 on SNAP. The guidance is similar to the guidance for school year 2021–2022, with a few key differences.