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October 16, 2022

Grants support equipment purchases to prepare nutritious meals for children

Washington, D.C., October 11, 2022 – The Biden-Harris Administration today awarded $50 million in grants for schools to invest in new food service equipment that will allow them to continue serving nutritious meals. Today’s funding adds to the $30 million in equipment grants the administration gave schools earlier this year. This announcement comes as USDA stands with partners and advocates in the child nutrition community to celebrate National School Lunch Week (October 10-14), a time to recognize the critical nutrition that school meals provide to tens of millions of children each school day.

The added support for school meals and child nutrition builds on 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 Dietary Disease by 2030.

“Ensuring access to nutritious school meals is one of the best investments we can make in our fight to end childhood 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 ongoing supply chain disruptions. These additional resources will allow schools to provide healthy, attractive meals meeting essential 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 updated equipment that will support:

Here are some testimonials about how the equipment grants have improved food service for school districts across the country:

These grants are just the latest in a series of efforts the Biden-Harris Administration has made 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 Food Initiative, which will provide grants for small and rural schools to improve their food quality. The call for applications is open to all non-governmental organizations until November 28, 2022. Later this year, FNS will announce the second and final phase of the initiative, which will expand nutritious food options for school meals through collaboration with food industry partners.

Here is a snapshot of the investments USDA has made in school meals for the 2022-2023 school year.

The administration is also investing in child nutrition more widely. Last month, USDA issued a final rule that improves children’s access to USDA’s Summer Food Service Program by streamlining and strengthening program operations. USDA also approved families of nearly 33 million children to receive summer child meal benefits of $391 per child for summer 2022, with higher amounts in Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories. These benefits through the Summer P-EBT program help families cover food costs from the summer months when schools were out of session.

This announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The National Strategy provides a roadmap of actions the federal government will take to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030 – all while reducing inequalities. The National Strategy was released in conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in more than 50 years, hosted by President Biden on September 28, 2022.

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