USDA Announced Increased Funding For School Meals
Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022 at 7:00 am
The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an increase in funding to help schools continue to serve kids healthy meals this coming school year and provide financial relief for schools and child care providers. Effective July 1, 2022, the reimbursement schools receive for each meal served will increase by approximately $0.68 per free/reduced-price lunch and $0.32 per free/reduced price breakfast. Other reimbursement rates, including rates for paid school meals and child care meals, are available online.
The action will provide support for schools and child care providers dealing with rising food costs, and is part of the Biden Administration’s work to lower costs and provide American families some additional breathing room.
The increase includes both a required annual adjustment in reimbursement rates to reflect the cost of food and an extra temporary per-meal boost in reimbursements from the recent Keep Kids Fed Act. Combined, this will pump an estimated $4.3 billion more into school meal and child care meal programs across the nation this school year, in addition to the nearly $2 billion in additional funding USDA has already provided.
The announcement is part of USDA’s commitment to ensuring the school meal programs are strong and supported so they can successfully navigate current challenges and support more American families. Additional actions USDA has taken include:
Providing an additional nearly $2 billion for schools to buy domestic food for their meal programs.
Offering a suite of operational waivers that give states and schools flexibility to adapt to their on-the-ground circumstances such as grab-and-go or parent-pickup of meals.
Ensuring states continue to receive stable funding for USDA Foods for the coming school year – comparable to last school year – for purchasing 100% American-grown foods for their school meal programs.
Ensuring schools are not penalized if they cannot meet meal standards due to supply chain issues.
Awarding up to $200 million to states to purchase domestic local foods for distribution to schools, through the new Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program.
Extending deadlines for districts to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows school serving many high-need students to provide all meals for free without collecting applications from families.
The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides eligible participants coupons to buy fresh, unprepared fruits and vegetables from local farmers, farmers’ markets or roadside stands that have been approved by their state agency to accept FMNP benefits.