USDA Increases Funding to Continue Providing Students with Healthful School Meals

01/07/2022 - The Academy applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its efforts to ensure children continue to receive healthful school meals and to provide this much needed support for critical child nutrition programs. A statement by the agency announced that as of January 1, 2022, all school districts in the United States are eligible to be reimbursed using Summer Food Service Program rates, which are higher than normal school meal rates and are adjusted each January.

School nutrition professionals including many Academy members have reported challenges with rising food costs, supply chain shortages and labor disruptions. The Academy has been working with other school nutrition and children’s health advocacy groups to communicate these challenges with federal agencies and policy makers.

The USDA estimates that this adjustment puts $750 million more into school meal programs across the country, ensuring reimbursements from the federal government are on the same level as food and operational costs, which have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academy continues to advocate and support school nutrition initiatives that ensure students have access to nutritious, healthful foods.