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Tuesday Morning - June 16, 2009

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June 16, 2009

Table of Contents

USA Today Covers Increase in School Meal Participation and the Need for More Funding

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up FY2010 Spending Bill

Obama References School Nutrition Program in Health Care Remarks

SNA Signs Letter Supporting After School Meals Legislation

USDA Announces Purchase of Up to $2.7 Million in Fresh Tomatoes

New Jersey Considers Menu Labeling Bill for Schools

School Food Service Equipment Grant Update

Letter on H1N1 Back to School Preparations Released

 

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

PR Toolkit

From the Kitchen to the Congress Reauthorization Blog

State and Federal Legislation

 

USA Today Covers Increase in School Meal Participation and the Need for More Funding

The front page of the Thursday, June 11th edition of USA Today confirms what many school nutrition professionals have known for some time: more students than ever are participating in the National School Lunch Program through the free and reduced price categories. The paper cites USDA statistics showing that 16.5 million students now receive free school lunches daily, up 6.3% over last year, while 3.2 million receive reduced price lunches. 

 

The article highlights the double digit increases in free and reduced price participation in states like California (17%,) Arizona (10%,) New Jersey (10%,) Utah (10%,) and Vermont (10%.) While participation increases reflect the difficult economic situation of the country, the article also notes the challenges facing school nutrition programs as they struggle financially to meet the rising demand.

SNA President Dr. Katie Wilson, SNS is quoted stating "We absolutely want every eligible student to participate, but schools are losing money on every meal." Dr. Wilson calls the increased demand, rising food prices and insufficient federal meal reimbursements a "perfect storm." House of Representatives' Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) says Congress should give "serious consideration" to boosting the federal subsidy during Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year.

Several other newspapers and television stations have covered this issue recently.  Also on Thursday, the Arizona Republic’s front page carried a story on rising school meal program participation.  The article highlighted increasing school nutrition program participation in Arizona schools and featured quotes from SNA.  The Chicago Tribune also ran a story on Thursday focusing on the school meal programs, calling for tighter regulations and healthier food options.

To read these articles, please visit the links below.

More students on lunch programs, USA Today

School Systems juggle to cover cost of students' free lunches, USA Today

Free lunch program in Ariz. up 11.3% in year, Arizona Republic

Nachos for lunch? Yes, every day, Chicago Tribune

 

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up FY2010 Spending Bill

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2010 spending bill yesterday. Based upon Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) opening statement, additional investments were made to the WIC and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Programs. No amendments were offered during the afternoon session, which are being reserved for action before the full House Appropriations Committee which is currently scheduled for Thursday, June 18.

 

Representative DeLauro also addressed the child nutrition programs in remarks she made during the annual Food Research and Action Center dinner on Wednesday, June 10, 2009.  Honored by FRAC for her commitment to ending childhood hunger, DeLauro voiced her support for the school nutrition programs and called for a strong child nutrition reauthorization bill.  Among the priorities she outlined that need to be addressed as part of reauthorization are, an expansion of the free meal category up to 185% of poverty, increasing access to the summer feeding program, expanding the supper program, enhancing the nutritional quality of school meals, and increasing the meal reimbursement.

For more information, please visit Related Links.

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up FY2010 Spending Bill

From the Kitchen to the Congress Reauthorization Blog

 

Obama References School Nutrition Program in Health Care Remarks

Speaking before a crowd of several hundred people in Green Bay, Wis., President Barack Obama referenced the federal child nutrition programs as an important component of overall health care reform.  In addressing a question posed by the president of the Green Bay School Board, President Obama noted that improving the quality of meals served in the National School Lunch Program should be considered a priority in improving the health of Americans. President Obama also argued that the school nutrition programs are not the only answer; students must be engaged in more physical activity during the day.

Since taking office in January, President Obama and his Administration have indicated that they are in favor of strengthening the school nutrition programs.  In his FY2010 budget request, the Obama Administration included $1 billion over five years for the school nutrition programs. 

Transcript of Obama’s Town Hall Meeting

 

SNA Signs Letter Supporting After School Meals Legislation

SNA has joined 59 other national organizations in signing a letter of support for the AFTERschool Meals Act, S. 990, which was introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).  The AFTERschool Meals Act would authorize a nationwide expansion of the afterschool meals program.  It would allow children from all states to receive healthy and nutritious meals after school.  It also gives schools the option of operating suppers through the School Lunch/Breakfast Programs or through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), easing program administration for some schools. It also authorizes grants to states to encourage schools and institutions to participate.

To view a copy of the letter, please visit the link below.

 

Letter Supporting the AFTERschool Meals Act

 

USDA Announces Purchase of Up to $2.7 Million in Fresh Tomatoes

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week USDA’s intention to purchase up to $2.7 million of fresh tomatoes for federal nutrition assistance programs. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.

The USDA added a fresh-cut apple purchase pilot program earlier this year, and reportedly may also start purchasing baby peeled carrots as part of a pilot program. The apple purchases could amount to $16.3 million, according to a USDA news release.

New Jersey Considers Menu Labeling Bill for Schools

The New Jersey legislature is considering legislation that would require schools to include nutrition facts in school cafeterias.  If passed, HB 4059 and SB 2855 would require schools to post information regarding the nutritional content of meals served in their cafeterias and on the district website.  If a district website does not exist, the school district would be required to distribute a pamphlet to all parents.  School districts would also be required to identify items that may cause an allergic reaction.

Federal legislation has also recently been introduced that would require some restaurants to list the nutritional content of their meals.  This legislation does not affect the school nutrition programs.

School Food Service Equipment Grant Update

Most states have begun to award grants from the $100 million in equipment grant funding included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Each state is required to post information on grant distribution to their ARRA website. Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia grant information is now posted and included on the SNA website.  For more information, please visit Related Links.

School Food Equipment Grants

Letter on H1N1 Back to School Preparations Released

The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services have released a letter detailing suggestions for dealing with the H1N1 flu virus at the beginning of the next school year.  The letter offers ideas for keeping students safe and preventing the virus from becoming widespread.

 

 H1N1 Letter 

State and Federal Legislation

State legislation can now be accessed on the Internet through Netscan. Use Username: schoolnutrition and Password: sna

Click State Legislation Instructions for steps to access state legislation through the service. Legislatures currently in session include:  Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Federal, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin

 


 
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