WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–Jan. 14, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $25 million in grants to help schools operating a National School Lunch Program (NSLP) replace outdated equipment with new, energy efficient, appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and other food service related equipment. The new funding, authorized in accordance with Section 7(a)(2) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1776(a)(2)), is a one-time fiscal year 2010 appropriation to State educational agencies.
“President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that America’s children have access to safe and nutritious food through our National School Lunch Program,” said Vilsack. “These grants will help schools obtain much needed infrastructure to better serve their students and will focus on equipment that helps schools provide nutritious meals, support food safety efforts, improve energy efficiency, and expand participation in school nutrition programs.”
As mandated by the legislation, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will award these grants to school food authorities that participate in the NSLP and that did not receive an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant for NSLP equipment assistance in FY 2009. Additionally, priority will be given to schools where 50 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced price meals under the NSLP.
“One of USDA’s top priorities is to provide our children well-balanced, healthy meals and snacks during their school day,” said Vilsack. “Lunches provided by USDA’s National School Lunch Program help children develop healthy eating and lifestyle choices.”
Operating in more than 101,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions nationwide, the NSLP works in concert with FNS’s other nutrition assistance programs to form a national safety net against hunger. It provides school children of all economic backgrounds with a well-balanced, healthy meal that is designed to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In some cases, the school lunch is the main daily meal for a needy child.
Congress is currently considering reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which provides the outline for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs that serve more than 31 million children. Administration priorities include eliminating barriers that keep children from participating in school nutrition programs, improving the quality of school meals and the health of the school environment, and enhancing program performance.
The following are the FY 2010 equipment grants allocated to each State:
Alabama, $ 482,431
District of Columbia, $48,505
New Hampshire, $48,634
New Jersey, $463,465
New Mexico, $227,948
New York, $1,487,348
North Carolina, $815,762
North Dakota, $48,505
Puerto Rico, $364,784
Rhode Island, $68,162
South Carolina, $467,392
South Dakota, $61,729
Virgin Islands, $48,505
West Virginia, $159,247
NATIONAL TOTAL $ 25,000,000
Some state allocations reflect all State administration funds provided, including those for Regional Office Administered Programs (ROAPs) and alternate State agencies.