In fiscal year (FY) 2018, it operated in almost 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools (grades PK-12) and residential child care institutions. The NSLP provided low-cost or free lunches to 29.7 million children daily at a price of $13.8 billion. Typical involvement was 1 percent less than in the last FY and achieved a 13-year reduced; involvement was roughly 7 percent lower than in FY 2011 when average participation appeared at 31.8 million children. Participation has dropped in six of the previous seven decades.
National School Lunch Program
Any student in a participating school could get an NSLP lunch irrespective of the student’s household income. Eligible students can receive free or reduced-price lunches:
Free lunches are accessible to children in households with incomes at or below 130% of poverty.
Reduced-price lunches are accessible to children in households with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of poverty.
In 2018, faculty cafeterias served nearly 5 billion lunches, together with nearly three-quarters of the lunches free or at a lesser cost. ERS-sponsored research found that children from food-insecure and somewhat secure families were far more likely to eat school meals and obtained more of their food and nutrient intake in school meals than did other children.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the NSLP and reimburses participating schools’ foodservice sections for the meals served to pupils. Meals are needed to meet nutrition standards; as a portion of those modifications required by Congressional reauthorization of this plan from 2010, NSLP nutrition standards are upgraded to more closely match the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In their price limitations, school foodservice programs face continuing challenges to provide healthy and attractive meals that encourage student participation. This is especially true in smaller districts and particular regions that face higher food costs. Watch the reports:
School Meals in Transition
In response to queries regarding the part of the school meal surroundings in children’s diets and other subjects, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 established updated nutrition standards for school meals and for non-USDA foods (often called”competitive foods”) sold in universities participating in USDA’s school meal programs. The laws allowed an additional 6-cent payment for every meal when schools revealed that they were serving dishes which met the new criteria; the laws also established new regulations for dinner prices billed to students not certified at no cost or reduced-price meals. The Act also created the Community Eligibility Provision, a fresh choice that allows high-poverty schools to offer free meals to all pupils.
USDA may be encouraging school districts to use locally-produced foods in school meals and to utilize”farm-to-school” actions to spark students’ curiosity about trying new foods. More than 4 in 10 U.S college districts reported engaging in farm-to-school activities which involves serving local foods in the 2013-14 or even 2014-15 school years. A recent ERS study found that school districts with registration over 5,000 students, urban districts, and districts located in counties with a greater density of farmers’ markets were far more likely to serve local meals daily. Higher-income districts, those districts with high levels of college attendance, and districts in States with more legislated policies behind farm-to-school programs were more likely to serve local meals daily.