USDA Distributes $1.5 Billion to Help School Meal Programs

Date: December 22, 2021 Posted by Linnea Mail Twitter Facebook

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States and school districts are breathing a collective sigh of relief as USDA has announced $1.5 billion in federal funds to support school meal programs deal with the challenges of rising inflation and supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic. Funds will soon be available through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

School Year 21-22 has been more than a little challenging for school nutrition programs. A recent School Nutrition Association survey found that nearly all school meal programs are struggling with shortages of menu items, supplies and packaging, as well as rising costs.

To combat these issues, USDA will provide:

  • $1.5 billion to states for cash payments that school districts can use to purchase for foods for school meal programs.
  • $300 million to states to purchase 100% domestically grown and produced foods (known as UDSA Foods) to be distributed to schools.
  • $200 million to states in cooperative agreements to purchase local foods for schools with a focus on buying from historically underserved producers.

Each state will allocate the funds to schools based on student enrollment, with a minimum amount per district to guarantee that small schools aren’t left behind. A state-by-state breakdown of funds can be found in this table, with states and districts able to utilize the funds immediately and receive deliveries of USDA Foods as soon as possible. 

Category: School Food