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White House invests to improve nutrition in schools 

By: Sydney Sheffield

The Biden administration has announced a new investment of over $50 million in grants will be provided to US schools to invest in new food service equipment that will allow them to continue serving nutritious meals. In 2022, the administration has given $30 million in equipment grants to schools. This announcement also builds upon the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. One of the goals of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, included a plan to end hunger and decrease diet-related disease by 2030. 

“Ensuring access to nutritious school meals is one of the best investments we can make in our fight to end child 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 continued supply chain disruptions. These additional resources will allow schools to provide healthy, appealing meals by meeting vital food service equipment needs.”

USDA will provide the grant funds to states, 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 upgraded equipment that will support:

  • Serving healthier meals, including those sourced from local foods

  • Implementing scratch cooking

  • Establishing or expanding school breakfast

  • Storing fresh food

  • Improving food safety

The state allocation breakdown varies. Some states such as New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee will receive more than $2 million each, while Texas will receive more than $10 million. 

Deborah Carpenter, child nutrition executive director at Hoke County Schools, one of the previous recipients, praised the funding, saying, “The grant has afforded us the opportunity to purchase new and updated equipment for our school kitchens. We purchased warming cabinets and reach-in refrigerators for our middle and high schools to put behind our serving lines, which has helped with serving our complex menu items. We have increased our participation at these schools because students do not have to wait long for their meals. The ultimate goal for Hoke County Schools is to provide the highest quality menu food items to all students and with this equipment, we are able to accomplish this goal.”