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Tuesday Morning - March 22, 2011

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March 22, 2011

Table of Contents

Special LAC Edition

 

Fit Kids Act

FNS National School Lunch Program Direct Certification Improvement Study

USDA Awards Grant to Improve Nutrition Assistance to Low-Income Children during Summer Months

USDA Meal Pattern Guidelines Comments

In Every Issue

SNA Legislative Action Center

Legislative Toolkit

Fit Kids Act

Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) have reintroduced a new version of their Fit Kids Act. The bill amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to increase a focus on physical education and activity as well as nutrition and health education.

The bill also focuses on collecting and distributing information to the families of students on a variety of topics, including the most recent national recommendations for physical education and physical activity for students, as established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as any health and wellness council located in the school or with which the school is involved.

The bill will also require the National Research Council to determine ways of integrating physical education activities in before and after school programs and look for links between physical activity and academic achievement.

For a link to a summary of the bill, please visit:www.healthyamericans.org.

FNS National School Lunch Program Direct Certification Improvement Study

Direct certification, a requirement of States and local education agencies (LEAs) in the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, enables children in households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other public assistance program benefits, to be certified to receive school lunches without application.

USDA, Food and Nutrition Services is launching a study to determine how direct certification can be improved. The goals of this study are to describe current direct certification processes and procedures employed by States and LEAs; explore the relationship between these methods and overall direct certification performance measures; and identify steps for continuous improvement in data matching techniques and tools to increase matching rates. To address study objectives, three key data collection tasks will be performed: (1) A national survey of direct certification practices of all States, the District of Columbia, five territories, and LEAs in those States where direct certification data matching is conducted at the district-level; (2) in-depth case studies in seven States and selected LEAs, which will include site visit interviews of program and technical staff involved in direct certification at the State and LEA levels; and (3) an investigation of unmatched SNAP participant records and NSLP applications from a sample of districts within the seven case study States. This information will help FNS, State CN directors, and LEAs to recognize trends, understand new approaches, and provide technical assistance for improvement of their direct certification efforts. For these purposes, it is imperative to show how LEAs are functioning across the United States and participation is encouraged. Also, SNA members are encouraged to make comments throughout this process.

To read the entire Federal Register summary, please click here.

USDA Awards Grant to Improve Nutrition Assistance to Low-Income Children during Summer Months

USDA has announced the recipients of grants which will improve the delivery of nutrition assistance to low-income children during the summer months. The grants will be used to explore innovative alternatives that will enable children from low-income households to access healthy food during the summer and will boost participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

“Hunger doesn't end when the school bell rings and gap periods, like the summer months, often present nutritional challenges to children from low-income households,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA's Summer Food Service Program, with support from vital partners in our communities, ensures that healthy foods are available throughout the year to help youth reach their full potential and win the future.”

Four sponsors in New York, Massachusetts and Delaware were chosen to receive funds to implement the Home Delivery demonstration project, while 16 sponsors in Arizona, Ohio and Kansas were selected to implement the Food Backpacks demonstration project. The Home Delivery demonstration project will provide funding to develop ways to deliver summer meals to eligible children in rural areas at a sustainable cost.

Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about the grant recipients’ projects, FNS and nutrition assistance programs.

USDA Meal Pattern Guidelines Comments

USDA, Food and Nutrition Services, is still accepting comments on the proposed meal pattern guidelines for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. SNA is finalizing its comments and is encouraging members to submit comments individually. Methods of submission include:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: go to www.regulations.gov then follow the instruction guide
  • Mail comments to: Julie Brewer, Chief, Policy and Program Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 640, Alexandria, VA 22302-1594
  • Hand deliver or courier to: Food and Nutrition Services, Child Nutrition Division, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 640, Alexandria, VA 22302-1594, during normal business hours of 8:30AM – 5:00PM.

 

All comments submitted will be included in the record and made available to the public. SNA will also be publishing finalized comments on the SNA website and members are encouraged to check the website regularly for updates.


 
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