CHICAGO — Action for Healthy Kids has signed a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to develop and implement the Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative. To further enhance USDA’s ongoing support for the school meal programs, the initiative includes an allocation of $47 million for identifying and recognizing school districts that excel in providing healthy meals and for supporting small and rural schools in adopting best practices and innovative approaches.
“Action for Healthy Kids is excited to partner with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and school districts to lift up and support innovative school nutrition practices that ensure that our nation’s students have access to nutritious meals,” said Rob Bisceglie, CEO of Action for Healthy Kids. “Through this historic investment in school nutrition, we aim to help school districts across the country overcome challenges and develop creative solutions to provide nutritious foods for the children they serve.”
Action for Healthy Kids will lead the overall implementation and management of the cooperative agreement. In partnership, RMC Health will design, lead and manage the overall training and technical assistance strategy. In addition, Action for Healthy Kids will partner with Chef Ann Foundation to provide in-depth individualized technical assistance to support and guide the school food authorities (SFAs) in implementing key strategies to improve school meal quality, meet the Healthy Meals Incentives Recognition Award, and mitigate any potential roadblocks to success.
“Every child deserves access to nutritious meals. RMC Health is thrilled to join our partners in this important work to remove barriers and provide resources to rural and small school districts in support of healthy young people,” said Shellie Pfohl, RMC Health President and AFHK Chief Growth Officer.
“The Chef Ann Foundation is very excited to be a partner in this initiative, in particular to be able to support small and rural districts in our country that have struggled through the pandemic and are eager for support to improve their food program,” said Mara Fleishman, CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation.
Action for Healthy Kids will also help facilitate sharing of best practices across the country and provide grants to help small and/or rural school districts innovate and advance their efforts. Approximately $30 million of the $47 million will be allocated as school district grants of up to $150,000 each.
“USDA is excited about the collaboration with Action for Healthy Kids to support and share innovative practices that will empower schools to continue serving delicious, healthy meals, and give students a healthy start. We look forward to this partnership and lifting up the great work being done by nutrition professionals throughout the country,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long, USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
These initiatives are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The National Strategy provides a roadmap of actions the federal government will take to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030 – all while reducing disparities. The National Strategy was released in conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in over 50 years, hosted by President Biden on September 28, 2022.
ABOUT ACTION FOR HEALTHY KIDS
Action for Healthy Kids is dedicated to improving children’s health and well-being by bringing together and mobilizing educators, families, and other key stakeholders to help children lead healthy lives. Through its core programming and family-school partnerships, Action for Healthy Kids has impacted more than 20 million children in 55,000 schools nationwide to address systemic challenges in underserved communities. To learn more about its growing network of volunteers and champions, visit: actionforhealthykids.org.
ABOUT USDA’S FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.
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