USDA announces up to $1.5 billion to help schools respond to supply chain disruptions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will announce up to $1.5 billion in assistance to help schools respond to supply chain disruptions, as part of a comprehensive set of investments to address challenges in American agriculture today made available via the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

Throughout the pandemic, school food professionals have met extraordinary challenges to ensure every child can get the food they need to learn, grow and thrive. But circumstances in local communities remain unpredictable, and supply chains for food and labor have been stressed and at times disrupted. Today’s announcement builds on the work that USDA has been doing to identify ongoing issues school districts face during this difficult time and provide the resources, tools and flexibility they need to serve students healthy meals.

These funds will provide additional support to districts so that schools can serve nutritious meals to students each day. USDA anticipates providing funds to States to enhance local school districts’ ability to directly obtain foods needed for school meals. In addition, a portion of these resources will be used for purchasing of USDA Foods by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to schools to partially mitigate supply chain issues they may be encountering in their commercial purchases.

This funding builds on the ongoing support and flexibilities USDA is providing to school districts and states as they work to provide nutritious school meals to children during these challenging times—allowing districts to serve meals at no charge to all students; providing targeted meal pattern flexibility; increasing reimbursements; waiving penalties if meal patterns are not met due to supply chain issues, among others.

We recognize that the additional funds will not solve all the problems schools are facing, but we believe by taking this action, we are providing school nutrition professionals with more tools to respond to these dynamic and unpredictable circumstances. To read more about the flexibilities USDA has in place for school year 2021-2022, please click here.

SNA  Announces New Lockbox Mailing Change 

Mailing in a payment to SNA? The lockbox address is changing on October 12, 2021. Please take note of the information below to ensure that your payment is sent to the correct address.

For payments sent before October 12, 2021, mail to:
SNA, PO Box 759297, Baltimore, MD 21275-9297

For payments sent after October 12, 2021, mail to:
SNA Depository, PO Box 719297, Philadelphia, PA 19171-9297

SNA is working hard to ensure a smooth transition to the new lockbox address, and we encourage you to begin making the necessary updates. SNA is here to help! If your school district requires an updated W-9 or vendor forms, or if you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

SNA Sends Letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack to Address Supply Chain Disruption in Schools

SNA is constantly monitoring continued supply chain disruptions and their impact on school meal programs during the back to school season. We have been in close touch with USDA regarding these issues, and today, SNA sent recommendations to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on ways the Department can ease pressure on programs struggling with procurement problems.

In June, SNA wrote to Sec. Vilsack to alert the department to worsening supply chain disruptions in the school nutrition industry. USDA responded immediately, meeting with SNA’s Board, Executive Committee and industry partners. Since that time, SNA has shared numerous examples of procurement challenges from SNA members nationwide.

Today’s letter urges USDA to ease a variety of procurement, meal pattern, monitoring and reporting requirements to reduce burdens on school nutrition professionals scrambling to secure food and supplies for students, while also meeting federal regulatory mandates. The letter also calls for additional financial support for school meal programs.

SNA recognizes the enormous hurdles our members face this back to school season as you pursue the mission of nourishing students for success. We will continue to advocate on your behalf with USDA and Congress and hope you will reach out to your Members of Congress to let them know how this issue is impacting your program.


Read SNA Letter to Sec. Vilsak

 

School Nutrition Industry Partner (SNIP) Conference October 27-29, 2021

There is still time to register for the MSNA School Nutrition Industry Partner Conference (SNIP) being held October 27-29th at Breezy Point Resort in Brainerd, MN. You can also register onsite. Expect lots of networking and reconnecting with industry and nutrition program operators. Whether you’re new to MSNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIP), or a seasoned attendee, the 2021 conference promises to bring insight you need during these complex times. We'll be talking about supply chain issues, staff shortages and workplace culture and diversity.   Our speakers THINK3D will show us the perspective shifts and why it is necessary to invest in, now more than ever, our workplace culture. MSNA is following all closely all CDC and state guidelines and are looking forward to meeting safely with all.

Click here to get started with your registration and to reserve your hotel room.

U.S. Department of Education Unveils Return to School Roadmap

In an effort to return our nation’s school children to safe, healthy and sustainable in-person schooling, the U.S. Department of Education has developed a Return to School Roadmap. Comprising of three landmark priorities, the Roadmap encourages schools, districts and their communities to focus on (1) prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and educators, (2) building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health, and (3) accelerating academic achievement.

One component of the Department’s broader efforts to support students and their families, schools and their staff, along with the community, this Roadmap offers a variety of resources, including a Fact Sheet, a Guide, and a Checklist.

To learn more click here.