Three States Expand Access to Free School Meals

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee have been selected by the US Department of Agriculture to participate in the initial year of an innovative universal free meal-service option that makes it easier for low-income children to receive meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The Community Eligibility Option will allow schools in high-poverty areas to eliminate applications and provide free breakfast and lunch to all students.

Under the option, schools use pre-existing data to determine the amount of reimbursement they can claim from the USDA. The determination is based primarily on the percentage of households in that community that are already participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Community Eligibility Option is one of the early reforms enacted as a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2010. The act requires the Community Eligibility Option to be phased in during three years. The USDA identified 10 states as being eligible to apply for consideration in the first year of the option. The USDA selected the three states based on information each state submitted.

“Community eligibility is a great way for schools to cut through burdensome red tape for themselves and low-income families so that children in high-poverty areas have access to the nutrition they need to learn and thrive,” Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said in a press release. “Schools should benefit from reduced paperwork, parents will not have to fill out duplicative forms and children in need will get better access to healthy school meals.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo aims to reduce carbon emissions by 34% at its foodservice and facilities management sites by 2025, a goal it says it will reach through such changes as converting cooking oil into biodiesel fuel and using energy-efficient HVAC systems.

In announcing this endeavor toward sustainability, Sodexo—which manages more than 32,000 sites globally—noted that over 7,200 of its sites in North America recycle aluminum and paper, and 8,640 recycle cardboard.

Ideas and Innovation
sushi plate

We wanted to add sushi, but that’s not really my expertise. So we found a great local company that offered to put three sushi chefs on-site every day. They supply the ingredients, and if we meet the minimum revenue each week, than we receive a percentage of sales. We have been exceeding the weekly minimum sales, which we track in our POS, in two days.

Managing Your Business
coffee barista

Whether it’s a morning routine, an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening social ritual, few things are as universally appealing as coffee. Sixty-five percent of respondents in Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report say they ordered a cup of hot joe from a foodservice location in the past month, and 59% say the same about cold coffee. Everyone has an opinion about what makes it good, whether it’s a low price, a unique blend or a friendly barista.

“Coffee is so personal. There are a lot of people that are Dunkin’ fans. There’s a lot of Starbucks people,” says James Dravenack,...

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

FSD Resources