What is the national school lunch program?

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

The Minnesota Department of Education’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers school and community nutrition programs for Minnesota children and adults through local schools, child and adult care facilities and summer food program sites. Participants receive nutritious meals and education to help them learn and practice healthy habits for a lifetime of wellness.

Free and Reduced-Price Meals
Schools that participate in School Nutrition Programs accept applications for free and reduced-price school meal benefits at any time. Approval is based on comparison of the household’s income to current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) household income guidelines. Schools send an Application for Educational Benefits form to the households of all enrolled students at the beginning of each school year. A letter accompanies the form and explains school meal benefits and how to apply.

Summer Food Service
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps local organizations operate programs combining nutritious meals and healthy activities for children during the summer months when school-year nutrition and activity programs are unavailable. In Minnesota, more than 100 sponsors operate more than 475 SFSP sites, serving 1.7 million meals per year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP) and After School Care Program. USDA provides cash reimbursement to public schools, private nonprofit schools and residential child care institutions for nutritious meals and snacks served to children in preschool through grade 12 at a minimal cost.

Families may apply for meals served free or at a reduced-price based on the income level of the household. Residential child care institutions and juvenile correctional facilities may serve meals to children and youth 20 years of age or younger. Reimbursement for snacks served to children in afterschool programs is based on the income level of the households living in the local area or the enrolled children.
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Improving child nutrition is the focal point of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The legislation authorizes funding and sets policy for the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. HHKFA upgrades the nutritional standards for school meals, increases the federal reimbursement rate for school lunches by six cents, increases access to school meals, provides more meals for at-risk children, and works toward improving the quality of foods supplied to schools. For resources on how schools can best meet the new regulations, see the related links at right.

Farm to School is a nationwide collaborative effort to connect school districts with local farmers for the purpose of serving healthy school meals while utilizing local fresh foods. Farm to School aims to meet the diverse needs of school nutrition programs in an efficient manner, to support regional and local farmers and thereby strengthen local food systems and to provide support for health and nutrition education. View more information and resources on Farm to School.

Meet the Challenge and Become a HealthierUS School. The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) recognizes schools that have taken a leadership role in helping students learn to make healthier eating and active lifestyle choices. HUSSC is a voluntary certification program for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. Select the HealthierUS School Challenge link to learn more.

Nondiscrimination statement: In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1)   Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2)   Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3)   Email: program.intake@usda.gov.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Managing Agency Minnesota

Program Description

The National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program help schools provide nutritious meals to students each school day. These are U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that are administered by the Minnesota Department of Education. Participating schools receive Federal and state funds for meals that meet established nutrition standards.

General Program Requirements

You may qualify for this benefit program if you have child(ren) who attend a Minnesota school (high school or under) that participates in the National School Lunch Program / School Breakfast Program. Almost all public schools and many private schools participate in these programs.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Schools send school meal applications home at the beginning of each school year. However, you may apply for school meals at any time throughout the school year by submitting a household application directly to your school. Your school will provide you with an application upon request.

Contact your state’s agency to participate.

Program Contact Information

For additional information, visit the School Nutrition Programs page on the Minnesota Department of Education website: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/FNS/SNP/index.html
If you have further questions contact the Minnesota Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Service at 651-582-8526, 1-800-366-8922 (Minnesota toll free), or email to: fns@state.mn.us

Background

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally funded meal program operating in learning institutions (public and nonprofit private schools), and other designated institutions (childcare, juvenile detention centers, board and lodging institutions, single family homes, etc).

Established and signed in 1946 by President Harry Truman, the NSLP’s purpose is to provide balanced low cost or free lunches to school children, each day. Institutions participating in NSLP are required by federal law, section (9) of US Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, to have two food inspections annually. As mandated by both state (Minnesota Food Code) and federal law, the Minnesota Department of Health and its Delegated Agencies (Local Public Health Authorities) conduct food inspections annually. They report and share inspection results with the Minnesota Department of Education. The annual report (number of food safety inspections) obtained by institutions and sites participating in the NSLP is then conveyed to the United States Department of Agriculture Secretary by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

For more information about the National School Lunch Program:

Minnesota School Food Inspections

Minnesota Department of Health – Environmental Health Services (MDH-EHS) and Delegated Agencies information about inspections for schools and sites participating in the National School Lunch Program. This information is comprised of tables and reports for schools and sites where food safety inspections were performed in school years 2010-2011.

collage representing school lunches

Changes coming to National School Lunch Program, will affect local students

The Education and Workforce Committee approved a bill to change the way the National School Lunch Program works.

However, the bill will still need a full House vote.

Right now, through a measure called community eligibility, a school’s entire student body is eligible for free lunches if at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In Cleveland City Schools, all students eat for free – but that will change, and principal Mike Collier says – that’s disappointing.

“It’s going to impact us. I mean, there’s no way that it wouldn’t,” he said.

Right now, if 40 percent of students live in poverty, in a specific school, that school qualified for free meals for all students, paid for by the federal government.

The bill will increase that to 60 percent, meaning Cleveland Middle wouldn’t apply anymore.

Administrators at Cleveland City Schools, like Supervisor of Child Nutrition, Susan Miller, says they’ve known about since January.

“You cannot teach a hungry child. And, so, that’s what we’re here for is to make sure that every child has an opportunity to be prepared to learn everyday,” she said.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a D.C. think- tank, says millions of children across the U.S., and here in our area, are at risk of losing meal access.

The measure could potentially put students in some of the country’s poorest communities at risk for missing meals.

Principal Collier says the school system will do what they can to prevent this from happening.

“Kids are our number one priority. And one way or another – we’re gonna make sure that they have the opportunity to eat breakfast, and we’re gonna make sure they have the opportunity to eat lunch regardless of who they are and what the circumstances are,” he said.

The sponsor of the bill, Representative Todd Rokita, wants the eligibility to change to 60 percent because, he says, they’ll be able to provide summer meals and better breakfasts for those most in need.

But, opponents say some students who do qualify won’t apply because of the social stigma associated with free and reduced lunch.



Legislation to revise school lunch program passes House committee

By News Desk | May 20, 2016

Controversial federal legislation to limit funding for subsidized school lunches and change some of the program’s nutritional standards passed a House committee on a 20-14 vote May 18, and the proposal is being hammered by critics who believe it would endanger the health of American school children.

kids-school-lunch-iphoneThe bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), said that his “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003) will save money and give schools more flexibility to meet nutritional standards.

According to a statement from the House Committee on Education and the Work Force, the bill “reauthorizes and reforms federal child nutrition programs to ensure states and schools have the flexibility they need to provide children with access to healthy meals without additional or prohibitive costs.”

H.R. 5003, if passed by both houses of Congress, would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct block grant pilot projects on the state level to test alternative certification and food delivery procedures under the bill and then evaluate these projects after three years.

Under Rokita’s bill, the current requirement that free meals may be offered when at least 40 percent of the students at a given school already get some types of government help would be raised to at least 60 percent.

Democratic members of the committee and others are criticizing Rokita’s bill for what they see as a plan to cut back on the availability of free and reduced-price healthy meals for needy children.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) called H.R. 5003 “more representative of child nutrition policy out of ‘The Hunger Games’” as he tried to have the legislation renamed for that popular film. However, his proposal was voted down by the GOP-led committee.

Among the groups which have issued statements opposing the legislation are the School Nutrition Association (SNA), American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Food Research & Action Center.

SNA President Jean Ronnei stated Wednesday that while changes are needed in the school lunch program, H.R. 5003 is not the appropriate vehicle to get those done.

“Although the House bill provides a much appreciated and necessary increase to federal reimbursements for school breakfast, portions of the bill will cause irreparable harm to federal school meal programs,” she stated.

CSPI indicated support for a bipartisan Senate legislative approach instead and asserted that H.R. 5003 would return junk food to U.S. schools.

“The bill would weaken the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, allowing schools to substitute chips, sugary fruit snacks and trail mix for the fresh fruit and vegetables they now get as snacks through the program, and make it more difficult for low-income students to receive free meals,” CSPI stated.

Supporters say the bill’s estimated $1-billion savings over 10 years would be applied to other nutritional programs for children and that changing the program’s nutritional standards would result in children being offered food they actually like and will eat instead of food the government thinks they should eat.

Source:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/05/126489/#.Vz7GcCEppUY




Office for Food and Nutrition Programs National School Lunch Program – Question Answers

  1. What is the National School Lunch Program? The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in nearly 95,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 26 million children each school day. Established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946, the program celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996.The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Food and Nutrition Service (formerly the Food and Consumer Service), administers the program at the Federal level. At the State level, the NSLP is usually administered by State education agencies, which operate the program through agreements with local school districts. School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the lunch program receive cash reimbursement and donated commodity assistance from USDA for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal nutrition requirements, and they must offer free and reduced-price lunches to eligible children.

    In 1994, FNS launched the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children to teach children the importance of making healthy food choices, and to support school food service professionals in delivering healthy school meals. Supported by legislation passed in 1994 and 1996, the initiative updated nutrition standards so that all school meals meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. New regulations implementing the initiative became final in June, 1995, and took effect at the beginning of school year 1996-97.

  2. What is Community Eligibility Provisions for Universal Free Meals?Eligible schools are able to streamline and improve school nutrition programs providing universal breakfast and lunch to all students through this provision.
  3. What are the nutritional requirements for the school lunch?School lunches must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.Current regulations require schools to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Regulations also establish a standard for school meals to provide one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.

    Schools have the option to choose one of four systems for their menu planning: Nutrient Standard Menu Planning, Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning, the traditional meal pattern, and the enhanced meal pattern. Both Nutrient Standard and Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning systems base their planning on a computerized nutritional analysis of the week’s menu. The traditional and enhanced meal pattern options base their menu planning on minimum component quantities of meat or meat alternate; vegetables and fruits; grains and breads; and milk.

    USDA has made a commitment to improve the nutritional quality of all school meals. The Department works with state and local school food authorities through the Nutrition Education and Training Program and Team Nutrition initiative to teach and motivate children to make healthy food choices, and to provide school food service staff with training and technical support.

  4. How does the National School Lunch Program work?Schools in the lunch program get cash subsidies and donated commodities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced-price lunches to eligible children.
  5. How do children qualify for free and reduced-price meals?Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level (currently $21,710 for a family of four) are eligible for free meals. Those between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level (currently $30,895 for a family of four) are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents.Children from families with incomes over 185 percent of poverty pay a full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent. Local school food authorities set their own prices for full-price meals.
  6. How many schools take part in the school lunch program?Nearly 95,000 schools and residential child care institutions participate in the National School Lunch Program. Public schools or non-profit private schools of high school grade or under, and residential child care institutions are eligible.The program is available in almost 99 percent of all public schools, and in many private schools as well. About 92 percent of all students nationwide have access to meals through the NSLP. On a typical day, about 58 percent of the school children to whom the lunch program is available participate.
  7. How much reimbursement do schools get?Most of the support USDA provides to schools in the National School Lunch Program comes in the form of a cash reimbursement for each meal served.Please check our Financial Management Page for current rates.
  8. What other support do schools get from USDA?In addition to cash reimbursements, schools are entitled by law to receive commodity foods, called “entitlement” foods, at a value of 15 cents for each meal served. Schools can also get bonus” commodities as they are available from surplus stocks. Under the School Meals Initiative, USDA also provides schools with technical training and assistance to help school food service staffs prepare healthy meals, and with nutrition education to help children understand the link between diet and health.Higher reimbursement rates are in effect for Alaska and Hawaii, and for some schools in special circumstances.
  9. What types of foods do schools get from USDA? States select entitlement foods for their schools from a list of more than 60 different kinds of food purchased by USDA and offered through the school lunch program. The list includes fresh, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables; meats; fruit juices; vegetable shortening; peanut products; vegetable oil; and flour and other grain products.Bonus foods are offered only as they become available through agricultural surplus. The variety of both entitlement and bonus commodities schools can get from USDA depends on quantities available and market prices.

    About 17 percent of the total dollar value of the food that goes on the table in school lunch programs is provided directly by USDA as commodities. Schools purchase the remaining 83 percent from their own vendors. As a part of its School Meals Initiative, USDA has placed special emphasis on improving the quality of commodities donated to the school lunch program, including a great increase in the amount and variety of fresh produce available to schools.

  10. What foods are schools required to serve in a school lunch? USDA does not require schools to serve — or not serve — any particular foods. School meals must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.Until the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children, the Federal nutritional requirements for school meals had not changed significantly since the school lunch program began in 1946. As part of the initiative, USDA published regulations to help schools bring their meals up to date to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and no more than 10 percent from saturated fat.

    The new regulations require schools to have met the Dietary Guidelines by school year 1996-1997, unless they received a waiver to allow an extension for up to two years. They also establish a standard for school meals to provide one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories. Schools’ compliance with both the Dietary Guidelines and the RDA’s is measured over a week’s menu cycle.

    Schools have the option to choose one of five systems for their menu planning: NuMenus, Assisted NuMenus, traditional meal pattern, enhanced meal pattern, and other “reasonable approaches.” Both the NuMenus and Assisted NuMenus systems base their planning on a computerized nutritional analysis of the week’s menu. The traditional and enhanced meal pattern options base their menu planning on minimum component quantities of meat or meat alternate; vegetables and fruits; grains and breads; and milk. The fifth menu option allows schools to develop other “reasonable approaches” to meeting the Dietary Guidelines, using menu planning guidelines from USDA.

  11. How many children have been served over the years? The National School Lunch Act in 1946 created the modern school lunch program, though USDA had provided funds and food to schools for many years prior to that. In signing the 1946 act, President Harry S Truman said,

    “Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare.”

    About 7.1 million children were participating in the National School Lunch Program by the end of its first year, 1946-47. By 1970, 22 million children were participating, and by 1980 the figure was nearly 27 million. In 1990, an average of 24 million children ate school lunch every day. In Fiscal Year 2011, more than 31.8 million children each day got their lunch through the National School Lunch Program. Since the modern program began, more than 224 billion lunches have been served.

    For more information please visit the National School Lunch Program website.

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Civil Rights Complaint Form / USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form

Food and Nutrition

Working with educators, parents, business people, students, policy-makers and other concerned people throughout the United States

Food and Nutrition

The Minnesota charter statute does not specifically address food service. Charter schools have the same responsibilities in this area as school districts. While nothing in state law mandates that public schools must provide meals to students, in most cases it will be necessary.

This section includes information on:

  • Funding
  • Food Service Options
  • Resources

The Food and Nutrition Service at the Minnesota Department of Education administers the School Meal Programs. The programs include: the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, After School Snack Program, Food Distribution Program, Summer Food Service Program and the Minnesota Kindergarten Milk Program.

Participation in the food programs requires a substantial amount of paperwork, in terms of record keeping and regular reporting. Many of the software packages that schools use to report information include lunch programs, which can make the process much easier. MDE provides periodic training on the implementation of the School Meal Programs. Schools are strongly encouraged to attend one of these trainings well before school begins, so that a system can be set up to ensure prompt, full reimbursement. Once operating, schools should contact MDE if they have questions about operating the programs. Schools that do not implement the program properly might not receive the full amount of reimbursement to which they are entitled.

For more information about the School Meal Programs, please visit the Food and Nutrition Service website at fns.state.mn.us or the U.S. Department of Agriculture website at fns.usda.gov. The Food and Nutrition Service also provides periodic training on the School Meal Programs.

Funding 
Charter schools that choose to participate in the School Meal Programs may receive cash subsidies (reimbursements) for each meal served. For some programs, schools receive state subsidies and USDA commodities in addition to the federal awards. In order to participate in the programs, schools must serve meals that meet federal nutritional guidelines, keep accurate records of meals served and submit monthly reimbursement claim forms during the required timeframe.

Schools will be reimbursed at some level for all reimbursable meals served, although the amount is greater for meals served to students who qualify for free and reduced meals than for those who don’t. The amount of federal subsidy depends on each student’s eligibility category. Eligibility for free or reduced meals is based on the family’s income level. Children with family incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level are eligible for free meals, and those with incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals.

Most charter schools will have a number of students eligible for free or reduced price meals. To determine whether a student qualifies, his or her family must complete an “Application for Educational Benefits” form. This is the same form used by schools to determine eligibility for certain state and federally funded programs aimed at high risk, low income students (e.g., Title I). Families must complete this form each year their child is enrolled at the school. It is important to have completed forms on file, especially for those schools with a substantial low-income population. You may lose significant financial benefits if these forms are not on file.

Any child may purchase meals served by schools participating in the School Meal Programs. Schools may not charge students eligible for reduced price meals more than $0.40 for lunch. In the 2003-2004 school year, state breakfast reimbursements were increased to allow schools to serve breakfast at no charge to reduced eligible students and at a low price to paid eligible students.

In general, schools charge and are reimbursed for after school snacks on the same basis as other meals, although special rules apply for schools that operate in an area where at least 50% of the students are eligible for free meals.

Beginning in the second year of operation, the school will qualify for USDA commodity foods from the Food Distribution Program. In addition to school year food programs, there is also a Summer Food Service Program.

Reimbursement Rates
Although these rates change annually, as a point of reference, the combined federal and state reimbursement rates for the 2003-2004 school year are:

Breakfast Lunch Snack
Free $1.20 $2.27 $0.60
Reduced $1.20 $1.87 $0.30
Paid $0.77 $0.29 $0.05

Food Service Options 
When providing food service, a charter school has three basic options:

  1. Prepare meals on site. This gives the school complete control over the program, in exchange for greater responsibility. Unless the school has access to an institutional kitchen, however, equipment needs are likely to pose a significant barrier. Schools that prepare their own meals must have equipment certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, which is quite expensive. Schools that choose to prepare their own meals will have additional health and safety requirements and should also expect more frequent health inspections.
  2. Ask the local school district to provide food service for the school. A district that agrees to provide food service may have a minimum number of meals that they are willing to serve, or a minimum number in order to serve hot, rather than cold, meals. You will also likely be tied to the district’s schedule. Some smaller districts, particularly in rural areas where each school has a small kitchen, may be unable to provide food services.
  3. Contract with a private caterer for school meals. A private caterer might be more flexible in terms of types of meals, special preparations, special meals for field trips, schedules, etc. Most charter schools that provide meals choose this option.

IMPORTANT: Regardless of the food service option the school chooses, the school is ultimately responsible for making sure that federal and state requirements are met. For example, the school must comply with requirements regarding food storage, handling and safety. The school will also be responsible for submitting the paperwork for meal subsidies and for billing students who don’t qualify for free meals. All employees and volunteers working with the School Meal Programs should have an understanding of the following:

  • Sanitation and food safety
  • Required meal components and serving sizes
  • Counting meals by eligibility category at the point of service

When exploring food service options, consider speaking with staff at nearby charter schools and visiting other schools to watch their meal service.

Other Considerations 
During the first year, it is very difficult to break even on food service, given equipment needs. Even if someone else is preparing the food, schools will need serving areas, coolers for storage and, often, warming ovens. Schools should budget for these expenses. Free or inexpensive equipment may be available to schools through the federal surplus property program. To learn more about this program, contact the State of Minnesota Surplus Services at
(651) 639-4024.

When providing meals, schools must comply with federal nutritional guidelines for schools. These include, for example, portion sizes for different age groups and sample meal patterns. These guidelines are available on the Food and Nutrition Service website.

In addition to nutritional requirements, schools must also comply with the state health department’s requirements for sanitation and food handling. Regardless of whether the school actually prepares its own food, the staff is required to ensure proper food storage and handling. For example, a school must have a way to keep food at temperature-warm or cold. The state or local health department will inspect your facility yearly. In addition, any school that serves food must have one certified food manager on staff. To become certified, this person must take a course and an exam and register with the Department of Health. The Department of Health charges approximately $150 for the certification process. For more information about the requirements for food handling, safety and inspections, contact the Environmental Health Services Section of the MN Department of Health at (651) 215-0870. If you plan to prepare meals on site, you should contact the Plan Review Specialists at the MN Department of Health at (651) 215-0862.

Resources
Minnesota Department of Education Food and Nutrition Service 
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113
(651) 582-8526 or (800) 366-8922

USDA Food and Nutrition Service

American School Food Service Association

MN School Food Service Association

Minnesota Department of Health Division of Environmental Health

For easy to understand Food Safety Fact sheets, see: health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/food/fs/index.htm

For information regarding food service construction requirements and licensure, see:health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/food/license/summary.htm.
(651) 215-0870

As public schools, charters are eligible to obtain surplus federal property from the state for free or a nominal charge. Food service equipment may be available. To learn more about this program, contact:

State of Minnesota Surplus Services
5420 Highway 8
New Brighton, MN 55112
(651) 639-4024

 

National School Lunch Program

Information about applying for and administering the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).


Program Information

What is the National School Lunch Program?

The National School Lunch Program is a federally funded program that assists schools and other agencies in providing nutritious lunches to children at reasonable prices. In addition to financial assistance, the program provides donated commodity foods to help reduce lunch program costs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) External link opens in new window or tab. is responsible for overseeing the program nationally. In California, the program is administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division.

What are the benefits of participating in the program?

For children, the National School Lunch Program provides a nutritious meal that contains one-third of the recommended dietary allowance of necessary nutrients. For parents, the program offers a convenient method of providing a nutritionally balanced lunch at the lowest possible price. For schools, the program enhances children’s learning abilities by contributing to their physical and mental well being. Studies have shown that children whose nutritional needs are met have fewer attendance and discipline problems and are more attentive in class.

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What type of lunch must be offered?

Please see our School Menu Planning Options page for meal pattern information and our Meal Patterns and Menu Planning page for complete information.

What is involved in operating a National School Lunch Program?

The lunch program must be open to all enrolled children. Free or reduced price meals must be provided to those children who qualify for such benefits according to specified family size and income standards. Agency staff must verify income on a percentage of those children receiving free or reduced price lunches to confirm their eligibility. Records must be kept to document that the lunch program follows all federal and state rules and regulations. Some of the records that must be kept are:

  • Meal production records and inventory records that document the amounts and types of food used.
  • The number of lunches served each day, by site and by category (free, reduced price, and full price).
  • Applications submitted by families for free and reduced price meals, by site, and a description of the follow-up actions taken to verify eligibility.
  • Records of income, expenditures, and contributions received.

The CDE periodically conducts a comprehensive review of each agency’s lunch program. Those agencies that annually receive $500,000 or more in federal funds (from all sources) must also be audited each year.

How do we get paid?

The National School Lunch Program is operated on a reimbursement basis, with agencies paid on the number of meals served. Agencies submit a monthly reimbursement claim form, available on the CDE fiscal Nutrition Services-School Nutrition Program Web page, to the CDE. After the Department reviews the form, the claim is sent to the State Controller’s Office, where the check is issued. Agencies typically receive reimbursement within four to six weeks after submitting the reimbursement claim form.

Agencies that participate in the program are reimbursed from two sources: the USDA and the State of California. State reimbursement is paid for all free and reduced price meals. Federal reimbursement is paid for all free, reduced price, and paid meals. Visit our Rates, Eligibility Scales, and Funding page for current rates.

What types of agencies may participate?

Public and private nonprofit schools are eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. Also eligible are public and private nonprofit licensed residential child care institutions (e.g., group homes, juvenile halls, orphanages).

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Where can we get assistance?

Nutritionists and program staff from the CDE are available to provide free technical assistance and guidance on how to operate a National School Lunch Program. Assistance is available on such topics as menu planning, proper food storage and preparation, record keeping and reporting, and clarifying federal and state regulations. Visit the School Nutrition Program (SNP) Primer External link opens in new window or tab. Web page for resources, materials, and technical assistance in the administration and operation of the SNP.

Whom do we contact?

Please see the county list of School Nutrition Programs (SNP) specialists in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS). You may also contact the SNP Unit Secretary by phone at 916-322-1450 or 800-952-5609.

The Parker School District tracks lunch using wordware’s School Lunch Software

The Parker School District tracks lunch using wordware’s School Lunch Software

Parents remember you can check your family lunch account balance by going to the Parker home-page, www.parker.k12.sd.us, “For Parents” section, Wordware link. You can now also add money to your child’s lunch account from your computer! Click the “e-Funds for Schools” link within the “For Parents” section on the Parker School website for details!

Winona Area Catholic Schools tieup with Wordware for School Lunch Software

Winona Area Catholic Schools tie up with Wordware for School Lunch Software

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

The link below will take you to the login page to access
your family lunch account information and current balance.

1. Click on the link to go to the Wordware website.
2. “Click for family login” in the upper right hand corner.
3. Enter your username(Family ID) and password (Pin#).
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School nutritional program to provide best Nutrient for the child – Wordware Inc.

Need to start thinking out of the box for your school lunch program? Some days it is hard to find where ‘out of the box’ is. Try viewing this You Tube video for starters, “School Lunch in Japan – It’s Not Just About Eating!” (youtube.com). It is a totally different experience to that of our USA approach to school lunch so it’s worth a trip out of the box!

The students eat in their classrooms with their teachers, for a 45 minute lunch period that same as a class. We first notice students bringing their personal items in their lunch bags, including a toothbrush, cup for brushing teeth, a napkin, chopsticks, and placemat. The school has a ‘farm’ for veggies and everything is made from scratch, five kitchen staff for 570 students. Everyone wears head and face masks around food from kitchen staff to the students. It appears that everyone has a mask, hat, and coat in their desks to don during the pre-eating activities.

Each class sends students to pick up the lunches for the day, which are individually dispersed in the classrooms. They even keep track of leftovers through a report from the students and they find out where all the food is from, local farms, sixth graders in the school farm, so forth. The recycling is amazing. All the milk cartons are broken down and flattened, then washed and set aside for drying. Everyone brushes their teeth at the end of the meal. Even the last 20 minutes before returning to class they sweep, scrub floors and do maintenance cleaning.

Out of the box thinking does not mean one system is better than other. These ideas can be the catalyst to solve a problem confronting us today. And it is just interesting to see how others handle lunch!

School nutritional program  to provide best Nutrient for the child

School nutritional programs to provide best nutritious meals to the child growth. Increasing participation ensures students never go without nutritious meals while wordware also guaranteeing your School nutritional programs success. Across the country we work with schools to help them achieve excellence with their school nutrition. We Power School Nutrition Departments. Our Nutrient Analysis component is easier than manual systems or other software programs. You’ll find it’s also:

  • Wordware LCS1000 is approved for nutrient analyses required in the school meal programs
  • Child Nutrition Database
  • Food-based analysis
  • Includes the nutrient standards from the Final Rule
  • Accessible from central office or school site
  • Ability to build and add local ingredients

 

 

 

Child Nutrition Programs: Income Eligibility Guidelines

This notice announces the Department’s annual adjustments to the Income Eligibility Guidelines to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk for the period from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. These guidelines are used by schools, institutions, and facilities participating in the National School Lunch Program (and Commodity School Program), School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program. The annual adjustments are required by section 9 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. The guidelines are intended to direct benefits to those children most in need and are revised annually to account for changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Type:
Notice
Publication Date:
Wednesday, March 23, 2016