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Hundreds Call on Congress to Adequately Fund School Nutrition Programs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (February 23, 2009) -- From March 1st to 4th more than 600 school nutrition professionals will gather in Washington, DC to give Members of Congress a message: school nutrition programs need to be adequately funded in order to continue to provide balanced, nutritious meals to students. The 37th annual School Nutrition Association Legislative Action Conference, coinciding with the beginning of the child nutrition reauthorization process, will focus on the crisis in funding for school meal programs as well as the need for national nutrition standards: urging Congress to require science-based, yet practical, uniform national school nutrition standards to govern the sale of all foods and beverages available during the school day.
It has been five years since Congress last reauthorized the child nutrition programs. Since 2003-2004, school nutrition programs serve more whole grain items, fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy, however the cost to offer nutritious choices and greater variety now exceeds the per meal reimbursement available to school nutrition programs. While required to be financially self-supporting, increased labor, food and indirect costs make it virtually impossible for most school nutrition programs to stay "in the black." Research shows that spending money on healthy school meals for children saves healthcare costs during adult years.
“Every school day school nutrition professionals must meet differing local, state and federal nutrition standards; provide quality, safe and healthful meals that kids enjoy; accommodate special dietary needs and food allergies of a diverse student body; all for less than $2.57 per meal,” said Dr. Katie WIlson, SNS, president of SNA. "The time has come to raise the meal reimbursement rate to an amount that reflects the true food, transportation, labor and benefits, training, equipment and indirect expenses necessary to provide a school meal."
The key legislative issues the School Nutrition Association (SNA) is advocating for as part of child nutrition reauthorization are to:
Activities of the 37th annual Legislative Action Conference at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC will also include:
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. SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.
Legislative Action Conference 2009
2009 Legislative Issue Paper
From the Kitchen to the Congress: A Child Nutrition Reauthorization Blog
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