Full Plates Full Potential knows that childhood hunger is a solvable problem. We are working to end childhood hunger by surrounding kids with nutritious meals where they live, learn and play. Federal nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch, Summer Nutrition Programs and others protect our kids from hunger. These programs also have long-lasting effects on academic achievement and health. Partnering with schools, daycares, and local organizations to connect kids to the available USDA Child Nutrition programs are the core element of our FEED KIDS strategy and FUND LOCAL program.
CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAM GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
For organizations operating Child Nutrition Programs, including School Breakfast Program (SBP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program, a grant can be leveraged to expand organizational capacity, invest in equipment, provide quality programming, and improve meal quality. Supplemental funding can play a vital role in program expansion- ensuring that every child has the opportunity to receive a free, healthy meal. Below is a compilation of existing grant funding, either directed at site programs and activities, meal programs, organization capacity, and program implementation.
STATE AND COMMUNITY-BASED PARTNERS
We’ve created state-based campaigns, and have invested in organizations across the state to bring local solutions to the problem of childhood hunger.
BEST PRACTICES: MOST EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT
COMMUNITY ELIGIBILITY PROVISION (CEP)
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows high-poverty schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students while eliminating the traditional school meal application process. Thousands of schools across the country have successfully implemented this new option and are seeing the many benefits of ensuring that all of their students have access to healthy school meals.Any district, group of schools in a district, or individual school with 40 percent or more “identified students” —children eligible for free school meals who already are identified by other means than an individual household application—can choose to participate.Benefits of the Community Eligibility Provision
Lessens administrative work—schools no longer have to collect and verify school meal applications and can focus on feeding children.
Increases participation—participating schools in the initial pilot states increased breakfast participation by 9.4 percent and lunch participation by 5.2 percent in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study.
Facilitates implementation of alternative breakfast service models—when schools don’t have to collect fees or count each meal served by fee category, it simplifies implementation of breakfast in the classroom and “grab and go” service models that can boost participation further.
Improves the financial viability of school nutrition programs—when participation increases, school districts can take advantage of economies of scale, and reinvest additional revenue to improve nutrition quality and provide staff training.
Eliminates unpaid meal fees—when all children eat at no charge, the school district does not have to collect unpaid fees from families.
Universal Free Breakfast works well in schools with greater than 70% of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. However, schools with fewer eligible students have operated the program successfully. If the following situations are present in your school, Universal Free Breakfast is likely to be a success for you:
Stigma appears to be a factor in low participation rates.
The percent of students eating free and reduced-price breakfast is much lower than expected.
Teachers are supportive of breakfast and realize its importance to learning.
Cafeteria space can accommodate increased participation or breakfast in the classroom is an alternate option.
Breakfast in the Classroom improves the traditional breakfast model by making breakfast part of the school day and moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom. Breakfast is delivered to the classroom, or picked up by students from carts in the hallway or in the cafeteria and taken to the classroom. Students eat together at the start of the school day, while announcements are made and the teacher takes attendance, collects homework, or conducts a short lesson plan.Providing the opportunity to eat breakfast during the first part of class prevents students from missing breakfast when they don’t arrive at school early. Students no longer have to choose between socializing with friends and eating breakfast. Schools with high percentages of low-income students are able to offer Breakfast in the Classroom at no charge to all students, dramatically increasing breakfast participation and removing the stigma associated with eating breakfast in the cafeteria. Schools around the state that have successfully implemented Breakfast in the Classroom found that more children are eating healthy meals each morning, giving students and schools opportunities to reap the educational benefits associated with greater school breakfast participation.
Students typically pick up a bagged breakfast from kiosks located in high-traffic areas of the school building and bring it to the classroom. This model is well-suited for secondary schools, as it provides students with more flexibility in the morning and does not disrupt the ow of schedule blocks.
Students can get breakfast from a designated location during an extended break after the first period. This model also works particularly well in secondary schools because older students are often not hungry early in the morning.
School lunch is critical to student health and well-being, especially for low-income students—and ensures that students have the nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. Research shows that receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduce food insecurity, obesity rates, and poor health. In addition, the new school meal nutrition standards are having a positive impact on student food selection and consumption, especially for fruits and vegetables.School Lunch Participation:
Reduces Food Insecurity
Improves Dietary Intake
Positively Impacts Health and Obesity Rates
Meeting Children’s Nutritional Needs Leads to a Better Learning Environment
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is the state’s second-largest food and nutrition assistance program behind SNAP. NSLP makes it possible for all school children in the Maine to receive a nutritious lunch every school day. The vast majority of our schools — approximately 95 percent — participate in the program, providing meals to more the 187,000 children in Maine Public Schools.The NSLP is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the lunch program get cash subsidies and USDA foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced-price lunches to eligible children. School food authorities can also be reimbursed for snacks served to children through age 18 in afterschool educational or enrichment programs.
School-based afterschool programs providing enrichment activities for children and teenagers after school can also provide free snacks through CACFP in areas where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. CACFP funds also can pay for suppers for children attending afterschool programs.Reimbursable meals and snacks can be served to children, including teenagers age 18 or under at the start of the school year. There are no application forms for parents or guardians to fill out. All afterschool meals and snacks are served in group settings, at no cost to the child or to the child’s parents or guardians.USDA provides reimbursement for meals and snacks served in after-school programs that:
Are located at sites where at least half of the children in the school attendance area are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals.
Offer educational or enrichment activities, after the regular school day ends or on weekends and holidays, during times of the year when school is in session.
Serve nutritionally balanced meals and snacks that meet USDA's nutrition standards, with foods like milk, meat, vegetables, fruit, and bread.
When school lets out, thousands of Maine low-income children lose access to the school breakfasts, lunches and afterschool snacks and meals they receive during the regular school year. The Summer Nutrition Programs help fill this gap by providing free meals and snacks to children who might otherwise go hungry. The program is administered at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and in each state through the department of education.Two federal nutrition programs exist to feed children during the summer months – the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Local governments, school districts, and private nonprofits can sponsor summer meal sites, which may be located at schools, parks, recreation centers, housing complexes, Indian reservations, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, houses of worship, camps, summer school, and other places where children congregate. Sponsors receive a reimbursement for each eligible meal and snack served at meal sites.
Working to make the school day healthier. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make significant nutrition improvements in school meals as well as to improve the overall quality of the food sold at school. Specifically, USDA was mandated to update nutrition standards for school lunch, breakfast, and competitive foods (such as snacks and beverages).Organizations like Full Plates Full Potential, 5210 Let’s Go!, The Maine School Nutrition Association have advocated for improvements and look for opportunities to work with local schools then worked with USDA during the rule-making process by providing input on the changes.These high nutrition standards for school meals and competitive foods have the potential to increase school meal participation. There is a growing body of evidence and local success stories that demonstrate that improving school meal quality and the overall school food environment improves school meal participation.
We fully support the creation of an online application for free and reduced-price meals that can be used in every school in the state at no cost to the schools.Current, 47% of children in Maine are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. It can be a struggle to make sure that those families complete the forms in a timely manner when their only option is using a paper application. Schools that currently use an online system pay approximately $2,500 every year to contract with a company to maintain their system.Benefits of a statewide online meals application
Schools that are currently funding an online system would save the yearly cost of maintaining that online system.
Parents, students, and schools would be able to access and complete the application at no cost on a computer or mobile device.
Every school in the state will save money and time and increase efficiency by eliminating manual entry of student information from thousands of paper applications.
An online application provides for better access, less confusion, more privacy, more accurate results, and better integration with existing systems for data matching.
An online system electronically verifies that all required information is entered before being able to submit the application.
By making the application process more streamlined, parents are more likely to fill out the application in a timely manner, saving school staff the effort of chasing down forms later.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to the lifelong effects of poor nutrition. As a result, children from birth to kindergarten that is at risk of food insecurity can receive the nutrition they need when they receive reimbursable meals through the Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). CACFP in daycare settings provides reimbursement for healthy meals and snacks to food insecure children while in childcare. This program plays a vital role in improving the quality of child care and making it more affordable for many low-income families. Funding is administered at the federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and locally by the Maine Department of Education.Full Plates Full Potential network partners work statewide with both licensed child care providers and unlicensed providers with vouchers at no cost. There are income guidelines to participate. CACFP reimbursable meals and snacks are available to enrolled children/adults to include infants. Children are eligible to receive and daycares are reimbursed for up to two meals and one snack each day.