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SFSP Reimbursement Rate Increase

Jan. 21, 2022

Recently USDA announced a substantial increase to Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) reimbursement rates, effective Jan. 1, 2022. The new rates, part of an annual rate adjustment, increase lunch reimbursements by 25 cents, helping to offset higher pandemic costs. Learn more.


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Vaccination Required for All #LAC22 Attendees

Jan. 20, 2022

In accordance with SNA’s Event Health & Safety guidance and local regulations, the District of Columbia has instituted a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for indoor spaces, which includes meetings and restaurants. All 2022 LAC attendees are now required to submit proof of vaccination to gain entry to the conference. The ordinance also requires masks to be worn indoors. Read More


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Americans Can Order Free COVID-19 Tests This Week

Jan. 19, 2022

The Biden administration announced Friday that Americans can start ordering four at-home COVID-19 tests per household on the website, COVIDTests.gov, which will launch Wednesday. The administration teamed up with the US Postal Service to ship the tests, with shipping expected seven to 12 days after the order is made.
 Full Story: The Hill(1/14),  Reuters (1/14) 

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SNA: Make Free School Meals Permanent

Jan. 12, 2022

The School Nutrition Association has released its 2022 position paper in which the organization calls for Congress to make permanent free school meals for all students. SNA also is seeking an extension through the 2022-23 school year of child nutrition waivers adopted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
 Full Story: FoodService Director (1/11) 
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MD District Shifts COVID-19 Policies To Safely Reopen

Jan. 11, 2022

Schools in Montgomery County, Md., will provide students with KN95 masks when they return to in-person learning to help keep students safe in school. Other protection measures to be implemented include providing rapid home tests for staff and students to take before returning to school.



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USDA RaisesReimbursement Rate for School Lunches

Jan. 10, 2022

The USDA on Friday announced $750 million in support for school nutrition programs nationwide in response to supply chain challenges and inflation. USDA said it would adjust reimbursement rates, sending an additional 25 cents per meal to schools.
Full Story: CNN (1/7),  Axios (1/8)  



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SNA Virtual Magazine

Jan. 7, 2022

It's a new year -- and that means it's time for School Nutrition magazine's annual personal development issue! Make 2022 the year you focus on yourself, whether you want to grow professionally or build new habits in your personal life. Check out the January/February 2022 issue.



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8 States Join Free, Reduced-Price School Meal Project

Dec. 17, 2021

The Direct Certification with Medicaid Demonstration Projects expanded this week to include eight more states -- bringing the total to 27. Alabama, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and South Carolina will now participate in the program, which automatically enrolls students in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
 Full Story: Newsweek (tiered subscription model) (12/15) 

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USDA Announced Additional Funding to Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions

Dec. 15, 2021

The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) will award up to $400 million for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods. $100 million will be deployed under the new Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program?to strengthen critical supply chains and the U.S. food system.


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Schools Add More Half Days To Tackle Teacher Burnout

Dec. 14, 2021

Some school districts in Virginia and Maryland are scheduling more half days to help curb teacher burnout. School leaders say the move will help support teachers, but some parents are concerned about the loss of instructional time.

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Fewer Free Meal Sign-Ups Affect MO District's Funding

Dec. 9, 2021

The Neosho School District in Missouri is at risk of losing approximately $1.2 million in state funding this year because of a decline the number of families applying for school meal assistance since pandemic-related aid now provides free meals for all students. Officials say 1,800 students have turned in applications for free meals this year -- compared with more than 2,600 last year.
 Full Story: KSNF-TV/KODE-TV (Joplin, Mo.) (11/29) 



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KY School Is Home To New Container Farm

Dec. 9, 2021

Indoor farming company AppHarvest has opened its latest container farm at a Kentucky school. Students at the Floyd County School of Innovation who are part of the National FFA Organization's local program are invited to use the container farm to gain hands-on agriculture experience by growing lettuce using AppHarvest's LED lighting system and irrigation tools.
Full Story: WYMT-TV (Hazard, Ky.) (11/29) 

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USDA Invests $32 Million to Strengthen U.S. Food Supply Chain

Dec. 9, 2021

On November 22, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the investment of $32 million in grants awarded to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities to support expanded capacity and efficiency through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.
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Your Input Is Needed on Supply Chain Challenges

November 29, 2021

Has your school nutrition program been impacted by supply chain disruptions?
 
As SNA members nationwide struggle with ongoing supply chain challenges, the Association continues to advocate on your behalf, urging the USDA and the White House to provide support and regulatory relief. We are also working to connect members with new ideas and strategies for managing the impact of these disruptions on school meal programs.  
 
We need your input!
 
SNA is asking members to share strategies for coping with and minimizing supply chain challenges. We want to spotlight your success and inspire your colleagues as part of SNA webinarsmeetings and resources
 
  • Has your program or company found creative ways to adapt to this challenging supply chain environment? 
  • Have you formed new partnerships or implemented strategies that could be replicated in other communities? 
 
We invite you to share your best practices using the form below. No matter how big or small, all ideas and examples are welcome
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Nomination for USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

November 23, 2021

The White House has nominated Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban to the U.S. Senate for confirmation as USDA's next Under Secretary for Food Safety. Dr. Esteban is a veteran of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), where he has worked since 2001, becoming its chief scientist in 2018.

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Md. district prepared for food disruptions

November 19, 2021

Harford County Public Schools in Maryland is struggling to procure some items for school meals and is dealing with having 35% fewer employees than before the coronavirus pandemic. The district had a "Plan B" to address the shortages, and Kristen Sudzina, supervisor of food and nutrition, said the district's large warehouse helps them stock up on different products in large quantities.
 Full Story: WBAL-TV (Baltimore) (11/17) 
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SNA Comments on School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study II

November 16, 2021

SNA provided comment on the Federal Register Notice, Proposed Collection; Comment Request—School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study–II, published in the Federal Register on September 14, 

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Schools consider low-sodium options for meals

November 10, 2021

Some federal regulations for school meals have been eased because of the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain disruptions, said Diane Pratt-Heavner, School Nutrition Association's director of media relations, but schools still must adhere to certain sodium limits. In this article, several experts offer insight into reduced-sodium options and the effect that lowering sodium can have on some foods, including texture and taste.
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SNA Comments on Buy American Request for Information

November 9, 2021
 
SNA provided comments on USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Request for Information: Buy American in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, published in the Federal Register on August 4, 2021.
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U.S. Senate Agriculture Food and Nutrition Subcommittee Hearing

November 9, 2021

On Tuesday, November 2, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics and Research hosted a hearing, “The State of Nutrition in America 2021.
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U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Supply Chain Hearing

November 9, 2021

On Wednesday, November 3, the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture held the hearing, “The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain.” Industry witnesses from across the supply chain described staffing, sourcing and distribution shortages impacting foods delivered to schools.
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SNA briefs White House and USDA on supply chain challenges

November 8, 2021

Last week, at the invitation of the White House Domestic Policy Council, SNA briefed members of the Administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials on the impact of supply chain issues on child nutrition programs. Read more.
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Supply Chain

November 4, 2021

FSNA Supply Chain Video Series
In response to the challenges school nutrition programs are facing, product shortages, discontinued items, price increases, distributor cancellations, delayed or canceled deliveries with little to no notice, and staffing shortages, SNA has produced new videos that are available on YouTube channel. The videos discuss these challenges and what members can do to minimize the disruption to school nutrition programs. Learn More
 
SN Magazine: SY2021-22 Challenges
An article, “Tsunami Warning,” in the August 2021 issue of School Nutrition magazine, explores this school year’s hurdles with labor, the supply chain, inventory and more. Bonus web content includes a Q&A with a USDA spokesperson on the likely impacts of supply chain challenges on USDA Foods.
 
USDA Resources
USDA Team Nutrition recently released "Planning for a Dynamic School Environment,” which provides valuable information about meal service flexibilities and procurement strategies for school year (SY) 2021-22. It's been updated to include additional information on waivers, P-EBT guidance and policy documents, and is now also available as designed, printer-friendly PDF documents. View Summary of Flexibilities, Table of Flexibilities, Flexibilities in Practice, School Meals Supply Chain Issues.
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SNA Briefs White House & USDA on Supply Chain Challenges

November 4, 2021

Last week, at the invitation of the White House Domestic Policy Council, SNA briefed members of the Administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials on the impact of supply chain issues on child nutrition programs. Read More

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Va. culinary students fill bread gap in school meals

November 4, 2021

Culinary students at Louisa County High School in Virginia are baking rolls that are served in Louisa County Public Schools' cafeterias. Students began baking the bread after a vendor was unable to fulfill the district's orders.
 Full Story: WRIC-TV (Richmond, Va.) (10/29) 
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SNA seeks to push back federal sodium limits

November 3, 2021

The School Nutrition Association is advocating that the federal government ease sodium requirements under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 because of the many obstacles created by the coronavirus pandemic. Diane Pratt-Heavner, SNA's director of media relations, says the group is seeking to move the second target to July 2024 and eliminate the third target altogether because it is too restrictive.
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Farm to School Webinars

November 2, 2021

Review the important details of the FY 2022 Farm to School Grant RFA and key characteristics of competitive Farm to School Grant applications.

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New Procurement/Supply Chain Tip Sheets from USDA

November 22, 2021

USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative has developed tip sheets to help School Food Authorities navigate meal service flexibilities and supply chain issues during this dynamic school year.
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U.S. House Committee on Agriculture to Hold Supply Chain Hearing

November 2, 2021

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing, “The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain,” at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, November 3.
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USDA Q&A for CN Programs Emergency Procurement

November 2, 2021

On October 15, USDA FNS issued a memorandum titled “Questions and Answers for Child Nutrition Programs Emergency Procurement Due to Supply Chain Disruptions.”
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SNA Briefs White House & USDA on Supply Chain Challenges

November 2, 2021

Last week, at the invitation of the White House Domestic Policy Council, SNA briefed members of the Administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials on the impact of supply chain issues on child nutrition programs, detailing procurement challenges, expressing appreciation and urging Administration to provide additional support.
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Meals Coalition Inquiry

October 30, 2021

USDA Deputy Secretary Responds to SNA’s Global School Meals Coalition Inquiry
USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh responded to SNA’s inquiry regarding the global school meals coalition, “School Meals: Nutrition, Health and Education for Every Child.” The coalition was officially launched at the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit in September and its goal is to promote, strengthen, and expand school feeding programs across the globe to make nutritious meals available for all children by 2030.
 
In the letter Deputy Secretary Bronaugh states, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a leader in school meals, both domestically and internationally. Our partnership with the School Nutrition Association and its members in meeting the nutrition needs of school children across the Nation is integral to that leadership.”
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US Senate Urges GAO to Conduct Review of USDA Foods

October 30, 2021

On October 21, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) sent a letter to the Honorable Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), requesting a review and analysis of the USDA Foods in Schools Program. The letter requests “that GAO explore opportunities to make the program more efficient, implementation clear and predictable in all states, and provide recommendations for how best to streamline processes and maximize the benefit…” Read the full letter
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Basic American Foods 33rd Annual FAME Awards Winners Announced

October 30, 2021

For more than 30 years, the FAME Awards have recognized outstanding professionals in K-12 foodservice who raise industry standards by tackling challenges and going above and beyond to make a difference within their school districts and communities. Join us congratulating the 2022 winners! Read More
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Serving school meals becoming difficult nationwide

October 25, 2021

School nutrition professionals across the US report canceled or delayed food deliveries, workforce shortages and other challenges to providing meals to students. Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association, said the supply chain and staffing issues are being experienced in school districts of all sizes.
 Full Story: CNBC (10/21),  Fox Business(10/22) 
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New SNA Sodium Standards Resources

October 20, 2021

Learn more about the sodium reductions already achieved in school meals and why USDA should ease the timeline for Target 2 reductions, eliminate unachievable Final Target mandates and empower schools that are able to voluntarily reduce sodium beyond Target 2. Read More
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Are you a decision-maker in the K-12 foodservice industry?

October 20, 2021

Don't miss SNA’s Virtual Fall Innovative Solutions Showcase (ISS)! Save a virtual seat for 30-minute industry presentations October 25-26 and November 1-2, Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 3-4:30 p.m. ET on Zoom. Registration is FREE for SNA operator members! Let us help you determine what new products, services, or equipment you’ll need for the school year. See who's currently presenting and register now!


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USDA Team Nutrition Supply Chain Resources

October 20, 2021

USDA’s Team Nutrition has provided guidance for navigating supply chain disruptions. Procurement authority under 2 CFR 200 provides SFAs with the flexibility to conduct emergency noncompetitive procurement(s) when an urgent need or emergency arises, such as the need to replace missing foods or paper goods with alternative sources or products quickly. Learn More


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School Nutrition Association Webinars

October 19, 2021

SNA is hosting a series of webinars addressing COVID-19 to support school nutrition operators. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars.   
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New SNA Sodium Standards Resources

October 19, 2021

Learn more about the sodium reductions already achieved in school meals and why USDA should ease the timeline for Target 2 reductions, eliminate unachievable Final Target mandates and empower schools that are able to voluntarily reduce sodium beyond Target 2. 
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USDA School Food Industry Listening Session

October 19, 2021

On Friday, October 15, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Stacy Dean and USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Cindy Long hosted a virtual listening session with 19 school food industry executives to discuss their critical role in strengthening access to nutritious foods for school meals programs, now and into the future. 
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Districts Tap Federal Funds To Pay For Free School Meals

October 18, 2021

Because of the high cost of living in the area, the San Francisco Unified School District has used funding from the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program to add free dinners to the district's breakfast and lunch program. Betti Wiggins, Houston Independent School District's nutrition services officer, also advocates that the federal government should fund universal school meals, which would eliminate administrative costs and paperwork needed for reimbursement that often burden school food programs.
Full Story: EdSurge (10/18)
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New FDA Guidelines Aim To Reduce US Salt Intake

October 13, 2021

The FDA has released new guidelines asking chain restaurants, food manufacturers and foodservice operators to voluntarily reduce sodium levels in 163 categories of the most-consumed processed, packaged and prepared foods. The move is to help reduce average American sodium intake by 12% over the next two and a half years, as well as reduce the rate of heart disease in the country, said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
Full Story: Reuters (10/13),  NBC News (10/13) 
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Nev. District Launches Universal School Meals

October 12, 2021

All students in the Clark County School District in Nevada will have access to free meals through 2025, according to a district announcement that coincided with National School Lunch Week. Superintendent Jesus Jara said in the statement that the universal meals support equity and students' academic success.
Full Story: Las Vegas Sun (10/12)  
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Md. District Marks Home-Grown School Lunch Week

October 7, 2021

Maryland schools are celebrating Home-Grown School Lunch Week across the state. In Carroll County Public Schools, two schools partnered with a food truck operator -- Old McDonald had a Food Truck -- to serve healthy breakfast pizza and a lunch option, and officials say if the dishes are popular with students, they could be incorporated into school menus.
Full Story: WBAL-TV (Baltimore) (10/7)  
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U.S. Congress Passes A Stopgap Bill To Prevent Shutdown

October 5, 2021

The House and Senate on Thursday approved a Continuing Resolution, a short-term government funding bill, that keeps federal agencies open through December 3. 
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USDA Announces New Funds For Schools Amid Supply Chain Disruptions

October 5, 2021

On September 29, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new funds to support school meal programs amid ongoing supply chain challenges.
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End Student Hunger With GENYOUth

October 1, 2021

GENYOUth is providing grants of up to $3,000 per school to supply much-needed resources for meal distribution and delivery efforts to get food to students during COVID-19. Apply now!
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SNA Signs Onto Letter Pressing Congress To Invest In CNP During Budget Reconciliation

October 1, 2021

On September 20, SNA signed onto an allied letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Education, and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, and Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow that urges Congress to invest in students and child nutrition programs during the budget reconciliation process for the Build Back Better ActLearn More
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Md. District Limits Free Dinners For Students

September 30, 2021

Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland is scaling back its free supper program because of supply chain issues. The meals will continue to be available to students participating in before- and after-school enrichment programs, but all other students no longer will be eligible.
Full Story: WTOP-FM (Washington, D.C.) (9/30)  
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USDA Announces New Funds For Schools Amid Supply Chain Disruptions

September 29, 2021

Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new funds to support school meal programs amid ongoing supply chain challenges. The funds are part of a broad package of USDA investments to address challenges facing America's agricultural producers. USDA's press release specified the move will provide up to $1.5 billion to provide assistance to help schools respond to supply chain disruptions, saying "these funds will support procurement of agricultural commodities and enable USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to enhance the toolbox for school nutrition professionals working hard to make sure students have reliable access to healthy meals. Learn more.
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USDA Grants Emergency Relief For School Meal Programs

September 29, 2021

The USDA announced Wednesday that the department would provide $1.5 billion to school foodservice programs this year, as schools report supply chain challenges, labor shortages and rising costs. The School Nutrition Association welcomed the relief and, in a statement, said the association "will continue to work with USDA and Congress to address the urgent needs of school meal programs, so critical to student achievement and wellness."
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Baltimore Schools Aim To Curb Food Waste

September 29, 2021

Baltimore City Public Schools is working to prevent food waste, including implementing a long-term plan that would divert 90% of schools' food waste and recyclable waste from the city's incinerator and landfill over the next two decades. Officials say a supportive culture around food waste includes teaching students where their food comes from.
Full Story: InsideClimate News (9/29) 
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Deadline: Apply To Participate In CEP For SY2021-22

September 28, 2021

The deadline to apply to participate in the Federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2 is September 30. 
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FNS Releases Study On SFA Procurement Practices

September 28, 2021

Last week, FNS published a new study on School Food Authority (SFA) Procurement Practices. 
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Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act

September 28, 2021

On September 21, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced H.R. 5309, the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act. 
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SNA Signs Onto Letter Pressing Congress To Invest In CNP During Budget Reconciliation

September 28, 2021

On September 20, SNA signed onto an allied letter to House and Senate leaders that urges Congress to invest in students and child nutrition programs during the budget reconciliation process for the Build Back Better Act. 
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FNS Issues Waivers To Address Meal Service During School Closures And Supply Chain Issues

September 28, 2021

On September 22, in response to concerns previously raised by SNA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published a new set of child nutrition program waivers for the 2021-22. 
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Va. District Overhauls Lunchtime Due To Pandemic

September 22, 2021

Elementary-school students in Virginia's Charlottesville City Schools preorder their lunches in the morning, and the meals are delivered to their classrooms to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, said Carlton Jones, the district's administrator of nutrition services. Middle- and high-school students go through lunch lines, and schools have adjusted schedules and opened outdoor seating to help keep students spaced out.
Full Story: Food Management (9/22)  
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Supply Chain FAQs With USDA

September 22

Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 30, for a Q&A with the USDA Team. In this webinar, USDA will address your top questions about the key challenges operators are facing related to supply chain issues. This webinar is part of SNA's School Nutrition Supply Chain Series and will discusses topics such as procurement strategies due to supply chain disruptions and guidance for feeding virtual learners. Register Now!
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SNA Praises USDA For New Waiver Addressing Supply Chain Challenges

September 22, 2021

SNA thanked the USDA for the Department’s quick response to SNA member concerns regarding continued supply chain disruptions for school meal programs nationwide. Read More
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2022 Dr. Josephine Martin Fellowship Application Now Open

September 22, 2021

Do you know a manager or employee in your school district who is passionate about child nutrition policy and could benefit from attending SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C. on March 8-10, 2022? Apply to be the Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow. Learn More
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Calif. Schools Eligible For Meal Deliveries

September 16, 2021

Schools and other school-related organizations can join a free meal-delivery service for students through a partnership between DoorDash and No Kid Hungry now available to students in the San Diego area. The organizations are working to donate as many as 100,000 deliveries for students.
Full Story: KNSD-TV (San Diego) (9/16)  
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Labor Shortage Affects Popular School Meal Items

September 17, 2021

Labor shortages among food manufacturers are affecting the availability of some school meal favorites in Iowa schools, said Sarah Mariner, foodservice supervisor for Mason City Community Schools. In particular, Tyson Foods discontinued a "labor-intensive" -- but popular -- product, "crispitos," Mariner said.
Full Story: Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) (9/17) 
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FNS Publishes Guidance On Nutrition And Ingredient For USDA Foods

September 15, 2021

On September 8, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published new technical assistance and guidance on “Nutrition, Allergen, and Ingredient Information for USDA Foods in Schools." 
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Louisiana Fit Kids

September 15, 2021

This new webinar series is part of a child nutrition initiative from the Louisiana Department of Education and Pennington Biomedical Research Center, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The goal of the series is to help attendees understand childhood obesity, the most common chronic disease of childhood. 
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Congressional Management Foundation Webinars

September 15, 2021

SNA has partnered with the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) to provide SNA members with the tools and skills they need to build relationships with legislators and policymakers. CMF works with both citizen groups and Members of Congress (MOC) to promote transparency, accountability and a strong dialogue between elected officials and constituents. 
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School Nutrition Association Webinars

September 15, 2021

SNA is hosting a series of webinars addressing COVID-19 to support school nutrition operators. If you missed a particular webinar, catch up with SNA’s on-demand webinars. 
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4 Ideas For Holding Meetings That End Well

September 13, 2021

Meetings should have a clear beginning, middle and end to ensure that attendees understand what decisions have been made and what their responsibilities are, writes Elizabeth Doty. "Leaders should take the last five minutes, as the meeting winds down, to guide the group in assessing what worked and what didn't," Doty writes.
Full Story: Strategy+Business (9/13) 
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Calif. Districts To Make On-site Whole Wheat Flour

September 10, 2021

California's San Miguel Joint Union School District and Shandon Joint Unified School District will use grant funding from the state's Department of Food and Agriculture to begin producing their own flour using an on-site stone mill. This farm-to-school effort is similar to programs in other states, but for at least two years, the California districts will exceed federal school nutrition standards by using 100% whole wheat.
Full Story: Civil Eats (9/10) 
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Access To Healthy Food For Young Children Act

September 9, 2021

Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) recently introduced S. 1270, the Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act, which aims to invest in and improve the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to make it easier for childcare providers to serve nutritious, healthy meals for young children. Read Sen. Casey's full press release.
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Team Nutrition Releases New Back-to-School Resources

September 9, 2021

This week, FNS' Team Nutrition published new promotional materials to celebrate and help promote healthy school foods for the 2021-22 school year. These new resources include an infographic for the School Community (English and Spanish), fun buttons for school nutrition professionals and thank you cards for students to thank foodservice members in their school. Learn more from USDA's Team Nutrition about school lunch and breakfast and download fun nutrition activity booklets.
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Catch Up On LEAD to Succeed™ Module 1

September 9, 2021

SNF’s Lead to Succeed™ Module 2 will be available very soon, so if you’ve procrastinated on completed Module 1: LEARN to Master Difficult Conversations, now’s the time! This self-paced 3-hour module details the key communications skills, approaches, and tools needed to inform, educate and drive the relevant opinions and behaviors. Learn More
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USDA Supply Chain Q&A

September 9, 2021

Join SNA and the USDA team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, September 30, as they answer frequently asked questions to some of the key challenges operators are facing. From procurement strategies due to supply chain disruptions to guidance for feeding virtual learners—you don’t want to miss this! Part of SNA's School Nutrition Supply Chain Series. Register Now
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Food Allergy Resource Center

September 9, 2021

It’s not too late to register for today’s webinar featuring chef-inspired ideas and best practices for managing common allergens in school meals, but did you know that SNA’s Learning Center also includes an allergy resource center with additional training and allergy resources from the CDCLearn more. Sponsored by the National Peanut Board.
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USDA Secretary Vilsack Meets With SNA On Universal School Meals

September 9, 2021

On September 2, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack, along with other representatives from USDA, met virtually with SNA, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and other allied organizations to discuss the importance of Healthy School Meals for All. During this meeting, each organization shared personal testimony on the critical importance of Healthy School Meals for All and the educational benefits of each student receiving a healthy, nutritious meal. Read More
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Congressmen DeSaulnier Sends Out Sign-on Letter To Combat Child Hunger In Reconciliation

September 7, 2021

Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent out a sign-on letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), urging for a $100 billion investment in child nutrition programs and policies. This letter calls for the passage of  H.R. 3115, the Universal School Meals Program Act, and cites  SNA's research that shows "school meal program directors across the country reported that serving school meals to all students during the pandemic increased access, improved equity and fueled a large decrease in unpaid school meals debt." This letter also articulates support for  H.R. 4379, the School Food Modernization Act, as part of the reconciliation package. Read Congressmen DeSaulnier's full letter.
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Federal Register: Correction To Reimbursement Rates For SY2021-22

September 7, 2021

On August 31, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the Federal Register notice, "National School Lunch, Special Milk and School Breakfast Programs, National Average Payments/Maximum Reimbursement Rates; Correction." This notice serves as a correction for a  previous notice published in July. It corrects a section of the chart displaying the reimbursement rates, specifically the reimbursement for the Contiguous States under the reduced-price category from "$3.59" to "$3.50."
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Team Nutrition Releases New Back-to-School Resources

September 7, 2021

This week, FNS's Team Nutrition published new promotional materials to celebrate and help promote healthy school foods for the 2021-2022 school year.
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USDA Secretary Vilsack Met With SNA And Allied Organizations On School Meals For All

September 7, 2021

On September 2, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack, along with other representatives from USDA,  met virtually with SNA, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and other allied organizations to discuss the importance of  Healthy School Meals for All. During this meeting, each organization shared personal testimony on the critical importance of Healthy School Meals for All and the  educational benefits of each student receiving a healthy, nutritious meal. SNA CEO Patricia Montague also shared member testimony on the current supply chain disruptions impacting school nutrition professionals and thanked Secretary Vilsack for current COVID waivers. Secretary Vilsack committed to working with all organizations and with Members of Congress on identifying ways to advocate for universal meals moving forward.
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Supply Chain Challenges Affect School Menus

September 2, 2021

Food supply chain challenges are causing schools in a Missouri school district to revise planned menus. At issue, they say, is that some food distributors have stopped supplying schools, resulting in shortages that have some school nutrition professionals purchasing food from Sam's Club and Costco.
Full Story: KMBC-TV (Kansas City, Mo.) (9/2) 
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N.C. To Invest In School Nutrition Professionals

September 2, 2021

The North Carolina State Board of Education on Thursday approved allocating $10 million in additional federal coronavirus relief funds to support recruitment and retention of school nutrition professionals. During the coronavirus pandemic, school nutrition professionals in the state have served more than 210 million meals.
Full Story: WLOS-TV (Asheville, N.C.) (9/2) 
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Promotion Calendar: Celebrating Opportunities And Ideas For School Cafeterias

September 2, 2021

Ready for some fall fun? Dozens of celebration ideas and opportunities are packed into the first downloadable Promotion Calendar 2021! From the straightforward (World School Milk Day, September 29) to potential classroom collaborations (Geography Awareness Week, November 15-21), SNA members will find plenty of ideas to explore.
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Take Action: Share SNA's Letter To USDA On Critical Supply Chain Disruptions

September 1, 2021

SNA needs you to take action! Share SNA's letter of recommendations, sent to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, with your Senators and Representatives. Read More
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Lunchbox Buddy Program Expands School Meal Options

September 1, 2021

Elementary-school students in a North Dakota school district can receive three food items for free at school, even if they bring a portion of their lunch from home, under the district's new Lunchbox Buddy program. Michelle Wagner, child nutrition program director, says 81 students have used the program so far.
Full Story: KFYR-TV (Bismarck, N.D.) (8/31) 
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Emergency Child And Adult Nutrition Assistance Act Of 2021

September 1, 2021

Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Marie Newman (D-IL) and David Trone (D-MD) introduced H.R. 4904, the Emergency Child and Adult Nutrition Assistance Act of 2021. This Act will extend COVID-19 relief for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the School Food Authorities (SFAs)through the end of the 2021-22 school year to help cover their operational costs. This bill will also extend the availability of funds through September 2022, and each state that carries out a reimbursement program will be required to submit a report on the use of such funds no later than March 2023. Read Rep. Adams' full press release.
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Take Action: Share SNA's Letter To USDA On Critical Supply Chain Disruptions

September 1, 2021

SNA needs you to TAKE ACTION! Share SNA's letter of recommendations with your Senators and Representative on how USDA can ease pressure on school nutrition programs struggling with procurement problems. 
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Bill In Congress Would Establish Free School Meals For All

August 30, 2021

The Stop Child Hunger Act of 2021 under consideration in Congress would permanently extend universal, free school meal programs that began because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gina Cornia, executive director of Utahns Against Hunger, is supporting the legislation and said that without the bill these programs are at risk of expiring at the end of the school year.
Full Story: Utah Public Radio (8/30) 
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Calif. Schools Prepare For Universal Meals

August 29, 2021

Several school districts in Marin County, Calif., are preparing to provide free breakfasts and lunches for all students during the 2022-23 school year. The move is in line with California's decision to reimburse meal costs for public schools.
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Maine District Overcomes Supply Chain Challenges

August 26, 2021

Some school districts in Maine are overcoming supply chain issues by sourcing more products locally for school meals. Windham Raymond School District RSU14 is increasing its reliance on local items such as tomatoes, which school nutrition professional Ryan Roderick said staff will puree and freeze to be used for as long as possible to replace canned crushed tomatoes in some dishes.
Full Story: WMTW-TV (Auburn, Maine) (8/26) 
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SNA Letter To USDA Sec Vilsack

August 25, 2021

SNA sent recommendations last week to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on ways the USDA can ease pressure on programs struggling with procurement problems. It urges USDA to ease a variety of procurement, meal pattern, monitoring and reporting requirements to reduce burdens on school nutrition professionals scrambling to secure food and supplies for students, while also meeting federal regulatory mandates. The letter also calls for additional financial support for school meal programs. Learn more.
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SNA: 97% Of Districts Concerned About Supply Chain

August 19, 2021

A School Nutrition Association survey found that supply chain disruptions are a concern for 97% of districts, which is the case in South Carolina, where some school nutrition professionals said food supply challenges are affecting menus. Anderson School District Five is reporting trouble procuring poultry, paper products and canned vegetables. While there will be disruptions and menu substitutions, SNA media director Diane Pratt-Heavner said there is certainly enough food to ensure that all students are fed.
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Prepare For Back To School With LEAD To Succeed

August 19, 2021

If your back-to-school experience includes challenging conversations with stakeholders like your superintendent, your CFO, your parents and even your students, don’t miss out on the first module of School Nutrition Foundation’s new LEAD to Succeed™ program. This training was designed specifically for school nutrition professionals and offers three hours of self-paced online learning worth three (3) CEUs and a Facilitator Guide brings the training to life in group settings
 
LEAD to Succeed is supported by a $2 million USDA grant and created in partnership with Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Module 1, “LEARN to Master Difficult Conversations,” will help you communicate effectively with stakeholders—administrators, vendors, school staff and parents—as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Register now!
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Fla. District's Menus Affected By Supply Chain Issues

August 18, 2021

The School District of Lee County in Florida is facing "unprecedented issues with the supply chain" that will affect school meals, according to a post the district shared on Facebook. Officials said the supply chain challenges will mean that the exact posted menu item may not be served each day, but school nutrition professionals will work to provide similar alternatives.
Full Story: WBBH-TV (Fort Myers, Fla.) (8/18)  
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Md. District Asked To Schedule Lunch Outside

August 16, 2021

Some students and families in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland are asking the district to schedule lunches outdoors when possible to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At issue, they say, is that lunchtime is an exception to the district's rules that students wear masks at school.
Full Story: Bethesda Magazine (Md.) (8/16) 
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Report: Free meals Affect Students' Idea Of School

August 16, 2021

Universal access to free school meals in New York City affected students' perceptions of their school environment, according to a report from policy think tank Urban Institute. Researchers found that students of all family income levels had improved perceptions of school safety, including bullying and fighting, after free meals were made available.
Full Story: Chalkbeat/New York (8/16)  
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Calif. District Grapples With Food Supply Chain Issues

August 16, 2021

School nutrition professionals in California's Santa Ana Unified School District say they are adjusting school menus in some cases because of supply chain challenges caused by wildfires, drought and pandemic-related issues. Josh Goddard, the district's director of nutrition services, says now is a good time to adopt sweeping changes to school meals, such as more made-from-scratch cooking, because it would allow school nutrition professionals to cook more options and give them the ability to quickly change menus.
Full Story: Spectrum News (8/16)  
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Take Action: Share SNA's Back To School Survey With Your Member of Congress

August 16, 2021

Now is the time to Take ActionSNA's Back to School Survey revealed the severe financial and operational challenges facing school meal programs, including concerns over program economic sustainability, meeting new sodium targets, and continued supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is more important than ever to raise your voice as the USDA has scheduled an upcoming Interim Final Rule on nutrition standards, and Child Nutrition Reauthorization discussions continue in Congress. Learn more.
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USDA Seeks Input On Schools' "Buy American" Rules

August 11, 2021

The USDA will review its "Buy American" provisions for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The department is asking for public feedback on the provisions, including how they are implemented and what support might be needed.
Full Story: The Packer (Lenexa, Kan.) (8/6)  
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Md. School Nutrition Professional Competes On TV Show

August 11, 2021

Bettina Applewhite, a school nutrition professional in Baltimore County Public Schools, is competing on Bravo's "Top Chef Amateurs" television show. Applewhite, who also runs a cooking blog, is paired with a past "Top Chef" contestant for the competition, which airs tonight.
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NSLW OCTOBER 11-15, 2021

July 29, 2021

What's So WILD About School Lunch?
Now is a great time to get started planning your WILD menu items for National School Lunch Week, October 11-15! With school meals FREE for all students in SY 2021-22 due to the pandemic, include in your messaging that it is a great time to give school lunch a try! New research shows that students get their heathiest meals at school! Learn More
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Opinion: Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

July 28, 2021

Public schools nationwide will be able to serve free meals in the new school year, but that service should be made permanent, write Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of the CDC, and Jamie Bussel, a senior program officer at the foundation. In this commentary, Besser and Bussel describe how universal school meals would support students' health and overall well-being.
Full Story: The Hill (7/28)  
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Farm to School Grants

July 22, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it's awarding a record-breaking $12 million in Farm to School Grants for FY 2021. Farm to School Grants help to expand the access to fresh, local foods and hands-on agricultural learning for children across 45 states and the District of Columbia. The awarded projects will serve more than 1.4 million students at more than 6,800 schools. Read USDA's full press release.
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The School Food Modernization Act

July 25, 2021

On July 9, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) introduced the bipartisan bill H.R. 4379, the School Food Modernization Act. This bill would help local schools replace outdated kitchen equipment to provide more students access to healthy and nutritious meals. Specifically, it would allow schools to participate in a loan assistance program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help them buy new kitchen equipment and build new infrastructure. Read Congressmen DeSaulnier's full press release.
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Federal Register: USDA Publishes New Reimbursement Rates for SY2021-22

July 22, 2021

On July 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its annual adjustments to 2021-22 School Year (SY) reimbursement rates for the National School Lunch Program,Special Milk, School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the Child and Adult Care (CACFP). In school food authorities that served less than 60% free and reduced-price lunches in School Year (SY) 2019-2020, the payments for meals served are Contiguous States—paid rate—$.035 ($0.02 increase), free and reduced-price rate—35 cents ($0.02 increase), maximum rate—$0.43 ($0.02 increase). Overall, reimbursement rates this year for the NSLP, SBP and the SMP either remained the same or increased compared to last year, and these rates are effective through June 30, 2022.

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Mass. Mulls Universal School Meal Legislation

July 21, 2021

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering legislation to provide universal, free school meals to all students statewide that advocates say would have health and other benefits for students. "School meals are a platform for children to get more than 50% of their calories, their healthiest meal of the day, and that will have a huge effect on this nutritional crisis," said Massachusetts General Hospital pediatrician Dr. Awab Ali Ibrahim.
 Full Story: Boston (7/20)  
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Nutrition Expert: Universal School Meals Benefit All

July 21, 2021

The Universal School Meals Program Act would have multiple benefits, writes Matthew Landry, a registered dietitian nutritionist and postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University. In this commentary, Landry describes how free school meals have improved outcomes in students' health, reduced stigma around free meals and provided benefits for overall school foodservice operations.
 Full Story: The Conversation (7/20) 
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SNA Celebrates 75 Years

July 21, 2021

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is celebrating its 75th anniversary! As a valued member of the Association, we are proud to share this organizational milestone with you. Thank you for being a vital part of the rich history of SNA and the school nutrition profession. 
 
That SNA has marked its 75th year during a global pandemic is the ultimate example of how this organization—and the profession it represents—triumphs over and over again in the face of trial. Its signature resilience has never been so evident. SNA’s remarkable longevity is rooted in the unwavering focus of its leaders, members, volunteers, Headquarters staff, allies and industry partners on its core mission: Feeding children nutritious meals at school to help them grow and be best positioned for lifelong success. 
 
We are excited to share a new digital booklet, A Brilliant History of Serving Kids, which highlights just a sampling of the achievements and challenges experienced by SNA over the last three-quarters of a century. We encourage you to take your time in reading it—learn more about SNA’s distinguished history. Share it with your team with PRIDE in your profession! 
 
Just like a diamond, SNA is still sparking after 75 years! Today, we celebrate a generation of leaders who continue to raise the bar, demonstrating remarkable strength, creativity and spirit. And we applaud you—and all of the stars in school nutrition who prove that SNA’s legacy rests in good hands. In addition to our special digital booklet, we have compiled all of our 75th anniversary interviews with pioneering trailblazers, current champions and rising stars from the past year of School Nutrition into a commemorative companion piece, Reflections on a Brilliant History of Serving Kids, that we also encourage you to download and share.  
 
Special thanks to our industry partners General Mills Convenience and Foodservice, Heartland School Solutions, ITW Food Equipment Group and Cool School Cafe, whose generous support made this publication possible.
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Calif. and Maine Become First States to Officially Provide Universal School Meals At No Charge

July 15, 2021

Last week, California officially became the first state to permanently adopt free school meals for all K-12 students after Governor Newsom signed SB 129 into law, a 2021-22 operating budget that fully funds school meals for all students at no cost. The state of Maine closely followed as Governor Janet Mills signed a new two-year state budget into law, ensuring Maine students will have equal access to free, healthy school meals. Learn more.


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Maine Seeks Data on School Meal Assistance

July 15, 2021

Officials in Maine are encouraging families to complete paperwork to apply for free and reduced-price school meals -- despite the meals being offered for free to all students, regardless of income. At issue, officials say, is that the data is used to determine education funding in other areas.
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Updated Maine Budget Includes Universal Meal Funding

July 13, 2021

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed the updated state budget into law last month, which included funding to create statewide universal school meals beginning in the 2022-23 school year. "When every child can access a free meal at school, there's no shame or stigma associated with taking a meal," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokesperson for the School Nutrition Association, which also is urging for universal school meal legislation at the federal level.

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Updated Maine Budget Includes Universal Meal Funding

July 13, 2021

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed the updated state budget into law last month, which included funding to create statewide universal school meals beginning in the 2022-23 school year. "When every child can access a free meal at school, there's no shame or stigma associated with taking a meal," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokesperson for the School Nutrition Association, which also is urging for universal school meal legislation at the federal level.

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Maine Adopts Universal School Meals

July 12, 2021

Maine has joined California in adopting universal, free meals for the 2022-23 school year and beyond. "I think families and schools have realized how valuable free meal service has been over the last few years, and it's going to be very difficult if schools have to go back to this burdensome application process and charging families for this service once the pandemic waivers have expired," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, a School Nutrition Association spokesperson. "I think there are a lot of states and the federal government that are looking ahead and thinking about the need to keep this free meal service available."
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SNA Seeks To Delay Federal Sodium Requirements

July 12, 2021

Most school nutrition professionals are unprepared to implement federal limits on sodium targets for school meals -- the next phase of which is scheduled to take effect next year -- according to a School Nutrition Association survey, because of concerns about students not enjoying the new food options as well as many school meal foods such as milk, cheese and meat having naturally occurring sodium. SNA is asking for the deadline to be pushed back and for changes to federal requirements for whole grains in school meals.
 Full Story: FoodNavigator (7/9)  
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USDA's Vilsack Visits Summer Meal Program in Nev.

July 11, 2021

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., visited Estes McDoniel Elementary in the Clark County School District on Thursday to tour the summer meal program. During the visit, Vilsack noted the importance of nutrition in improving outcomes for students.
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SNA Survey Identifies Challenges For New School Year

July 11, 2021

According to a School Nutrition Association survey, 97% of school nutrition directors nationwide report concerns about continued supply chain challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. A majority of survey respondents also report concerns about staff shortages and finances, as well as low meal participation.
Full Story: Food Management (7/8) 

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SNA- Wi Award Katie Wilson - Friend to MD

July 8, 2021

The School Nutrition Association of Wisconsin recently awarded Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance, its Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2020, the purpose of this award is to recognize SNA-WI members who have made outstanding contributions to SNA-WI and School Nutrition during their school nutrition career. Read More
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SNA- Wi Award Katie Wilson - Friend to MD

July 8, 2021

The School Nutrition Association of Wisconsin recently awarded Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance, its Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2020, the purpose of this award is to recognize SNA-WI members who have made outstanding contributions to SNA-WI and School Nutrition during their school nutrition career. Read More
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Take Action: Urge Your Legislators to Pass Strong CNR Legislation

July 8, 2021

The U.S. House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services held a hearing on priorities for Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). IT'S TIME TO TAKE ACTION: Urge your legislators to pass a CNR bill that includes SNA's CNR Task Force recommendations to expand access to school meals, increase reimbursements and address complexities.

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Fwd: Bravo! New Publication Celebrates SNA Award Winners

July 2, 2021

?“Bravo!” is an apt expression of the immense pride, respect and appreciation SNA holds for all its members after a year of multiple pivots and creative, spirited approaches to solving unprecedented school meal challenges. Bravo is also a fitting title for this new digital publication honoring the Association’s 2020-21 national and state award winners. 
 
Bravo features profiles of SNA’s Director, Manager, Employee and Industry Member of the Year, as well as reflections from this year's President's Award of Excellence and Recruiter of the Year recipients, plus recognition of many individual members and state associations for leadership, innovation and service.  
 
We encourage you to join the celebration and share this digital piece with coworkers, supervisors, Boards of Education, parents, students, teachers, colleagues, family, friends and others in your community who can join with SNA to celebrate these awesome honorees. Follow #SNAawards on social media to see the photos and videos of many state, regional and national winners celebrating at home. Feel free to print out copies, post the link on your social media channels, or share the link via email.  
 
Thank you to all those who took the time to write and submit compelling nominations and to those vendor partners whose advertisements helped make this publication possible. And SNA gives another round of applause to all of its members for 75 years of dedication, leadership and innovation in serving America’s children.

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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on 2022 USDA Budget

July 1, 2021

On June 15, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies for the hearing, "Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture." Learn More
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Law Requires Sesame Labeling on Food Packaging

July 1, 2021

Foods that contain sesame must indicate that on the packaging by January 1, 2023, according to a law signed this spring by President Joseph R. Biden. The FASTER Act also mandates a report on food allergy-focused research opportunities. Learn More
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Law Requires Sesame Labeling on Food Packaging

July 1, 2021

Foods that contain sesame must indicate that on the packaging by January 1, 2023, according to a law signed this spring by President Joseph R. Biden. The FASTER Act also mandates a report on food allergy-focused research opportunities. Learn More
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SNA Signs onto Allied Letter on Healthy School Meals for All

July 1, 2021

On June 23, SNA, along with 447 other organizations, signed on to an allied letter by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) to President Biden and Vice President Harris, urging Congress and the Biden administration to take additional steps toward ending childhood hunger by providing healthy school meals to all students at no cost. Read More
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