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Introducing the School Meals Act 2023

What they’re doing: U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) have introduced the School MEALS Act of 2023 in the House and Senate. 📝 Bills H.R.5407 and S.2772 streamline the free meals eligibility process, strengthen CEP and reduce administrative burden.

👉 The details:

  • Provides $22 million to support states in improving direct certification, $3 million for technical assistance and $2 million to assist tribal organizations with direct certification
  • Requires states that do not directly certify at least 95% of children living in households receiving SNAP benefits to develop a continuous improvement plan (CIP).
  • Eliminates the CEP June 30 application deadline, reducing barriers to adoption.
  • Expands the timeframe for data used to determine eligibility for CEP, giving schools more time to collect the data.

💬 What Rep. Hayes is saying:

“When children are in school, they should be focused on learning, not worrying about how they will eat that day. There are so many students who would benefit from free meals but cannot access them because of bureaucratic red tape. The School MEALS Act will streamline direct certification and community eligibility, opening the door to keep students in high-need school districts fed and prepared for success.”

We are a state affiliate to the School Nutrition Association (SNA), which represents over 55,000 individuals who have made a commitment to child nutrition.

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