FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Diane Pratt-Heavner, School Nutrition Association(301) email@example.com
SNA Applauds Obama Administration for Commitment to Child Nutrition ProgramsRising Costs for School Meals Require Increased Funding
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (October 23, 2009) – Following Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s comments on the upcoming reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) applauded the Obama Administration for its strong commitment to strengthening the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.
During a national conference call, Secretary Vilsack specifically acknowledged the work of SNA and school nutrition professionals nationwide while noting the “heavy burden” placed on schools to serve nutritious meals to 31 million children every school day.
Secretary Vilsack renewed the Administration’s pledge to provide an additional $1 billion to support child nutrition programs and called for increased training opportunities for school nutrition professionals, as well as consistent, national nutrition standards for all foods served during the school day – goals promoted by SNA. “The Obama Administration clearly recognizes the importance of school meals to the health and academic success of America’s children, and is committed to strengthening under-funded school nutrition programs,” said School Nutrition Association President Dora Rivas, MS, RD, SNS, and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services for the Dallas Independent School District in Texas. “The priorities outlined today by Secretary Vilsack strongly reflect recommendations made by the School Nutrition Association over the past year, and we appreciate his understanding.”
The School Nutrition Association has been calling on Congress to increase the school meal reimbursement for all meals to keep pace with rising costs and to provide schools with the support they need to expand offerings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The Institute of Medicine earlier this week reinforced that need and issued recommendations to increase servings of these healthy items in school meals.
SNA’s 2009 School Nutrition Operations Report found that nationwide, nearly every school district offers students fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and salad bars or pre-packaged salads. School nutrition programs are working hard to provide students with an even greater variety of healthy foods, but they struggle to manage the cost of these enhancements:
SNA found that the average cost to prepare and serve a school lunch that meets federal nutritional standards at the start of school year 2008-2009 was $2.92. The federal reimbursement rate for that free lunch is only $2.68 for school year 2009-2010, leaving financially strapped schools to make up the substantial funding gap. In a recent survey of school nutrition directors, SNA found that over half of school districts expect to face continued increases in the cost of food, supplies, labor, gas and transportation.
The School Nutrition Association is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.
© 2000 - 2013 School Nutrition Association, All Rights Reserved