Topic: School Meals

FRAC’s Early Success Strengthening School Feeding Programs

Food Research & Action Center

In this #FRACTurns50 blog, FRAC’s Founding Executive Director, Ron Pollack, shares the organization’s critical role in the expansion of the school meals programs. This is the third installment of a three-part blog series on FRAC’s early role in strengthening the federal nutrition programs.

When FRAC began its operations in 1970, the National School Lunch Program had been in existence for almost a quarter of a century. Enacted in 1946, the program was designed for two purposes: safeguarding the health and well-being of our nation’s children, and encouraging the consumption of agricultural commodities, especially those in surplus so that domestically grown food would yield better prices for U.S. farmers.

Status Update: P-EBT Approved in 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Emerson Hunger Fellow

At the beginning of March, I joined FRAC’s child nutrition team as a Bill Emerson Hunger Fellow. Two weeks later, schools across the country were closing, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and my team started working to ensure students and their families had access to meals during this unprecedented time. Schools and community partners started offering meals through a variety of models, but families needed more. In its second response package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Congress authorized the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program.

Responding to the Impacts of the Coronavirus on Health, Well-being, and Food Security

Food Research & Action Center

The COVID-19 virus presents particular challenges for low-income people. To ensure those who lack resources to stockpile food and other basic necessities, and who rely on school breakfast and lunch to help feed their children nutritious food, administrators and legislators should consider adapting Disaster SNAP and disaster provisions of other federal nutrition programs to provide nutrition resources for low-income consumers and to make up for disrupted school meals service; suspending implementation of rules changes that weaken SNAP benefits and enrollment; and increasing SNAP benefit amounts to bolster the program’s countercyclical impacts.