As part of a cooperative agreement to develop and implement the United States Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative, Action for Healthy Kids announced today that it will award nearly $30 million in subgrants to 264 school districts in 44 states and the District of Columbia, reaching students in some of our nation’s most underserved schools. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is providing these funding.
“Students in every community deserve access to healthy and nutritious meals,” said Xochitl Torres Small, USDA Deputy Secretary. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to providing our children with healthier, brighter futures.” Small and rural school districts will be able to upgrade their operations and deliver more nutritious meals with these money, allowing pupils to excel in school.
Action for Healthy Kids
Each small and/or rural school district will get up to $150,000 to help them improve the nutritional content of their meals and modernize their operations, which could include measures such as:
Staff training programs that are innovative; kitchen improvements and renovations; redesigning food preparation and serving areas;
Other school districts have pioneered efforts to assist school meals and nutrition professionals.
“When we improve school meal quality, we improve child health,” stated Stacy Dean, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “These grants represent the USDA’s largest targeted investment in school meal programs in small and rural communities.” We want to ensure that every child in America has the opportunity to attend a school that serves high-quality, healthy meals, and this funding is a step in the right direction.”
The selected school districts and grant amounts are depicted on an online map. As school districts formalize their funding agreements, the map will be updated on a regular basis.
“Offering healthier school meals is critical to ensuring that our nation’s children get the nutrients they require today and in the long run,” said Action for Healthy Kids CEO Rob Bisceglie. “Through this historic investment in school nutrition, we will help school districts across the country overcome challenges and develop solutions to provide nutritious foods for the children they serve.”
The USDA and Action for Healthy Kids have also recently accepted applications for the Healthy Meals Incentives Recognition Awards, which honor school districts that have significantly improved the nutritional content of their school meals. Applicants must be from the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the United States Virgin Islands. On a rolling basis, applications will be considered.
School districts who achieve the Recognition Award criteria will receive national and local recognition, travel stipends to attend a national Healthy Meals Summit, access to different best practices, training activities, and other advantages.
With the assistance of The Chef Ann Foundation and Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education, Action for Healthy Kids will oversee the grants to school districts, Recognition Awards, and Healthy Meals Summits.