WASHINGTON — The Biden-Harris administration on Tuesday announced $50 million in grants for schools to invest in new food service equipment that will allow them to continue serving nutritious meals.
The funding adds to the $30 million in equipment grants that the administration gave schools earlier this year. The announcement comes as USDA stands with partners and advocates in the child nutrition community to celebrate National School Lunch Week from October 10-14, a time to recognize the critical nutrition that school meals provide to tens of millions of children every school day.
The added support for school meals and child nutrition builds on the momentum from last month’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, where the administration unveiled a National Strategy to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease by 2030.
“Ensuring access to nutritious school meals is one of the best investments we can make in our fight to end child hunger and improve health,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As we celebrate the valiant efforts of school nutrition professionals across the country this National School Lunch Week, USDA is doubling down on our commitment to helping schools overcome challenges including higher food prices and continued supply chain disruptions. These additional resources will allow schools to provide healthy, appealing meals by meeting vital food service equipment needs.”
USDA provides grant funds to states (see: state-by-state breakdown), which use a competitive application process to award them to school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program. School districts can use the funds to purchase upgraded equipment that will support:
- Serving healthier meals, including those sourced from local foods;
- Implementing scratch cooking;
- Establishing or expanding school breakfast;
- Storing fresh food;Improving food safety.
These grants are only the latest in a series of efforts the administration has taken to financially support school meals and ensure our nation’s children are nutritionally secure. Last month, USDA launched the first phase of a $100 million Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative, which will award grants for small and rural schools to improve their meal quality. The request for applications is open to all nongovernmental organizations through Nov. 28, 2022.
Later this year, FNS will announce the second and final phase of the initiative that will expand nutritious food options for school meals through collaboration with food industry partners.