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Child NUTRITION Reauthorization

388 Upper Oakwood Avenue

Elmira, New York 14903
P: 607.796.6061
F: 607.796.6028

Eliminate the congregate requirement that children eat meals on-site to enable children to
take meals home with them.
Only 15 percent of children who receive lunch assistance during the school year receive
food assistance through a summer feeding program. The current program model requires
children to consume meals at a designated feeding site. While this model works well in some
communities, the logistics are often too difficult to transport children to a program site when
school is out, particularly in rural areas. Communities should have the flexibility to choose
which program model best meets their needs, whether operating a program site, providing
meals and groceries that children take home with them, or giving families a grocery card to
supplement their household food budget.
Increase access to child nutrition programs outside of school time by changing the area
eligibility threshold from 50 percent to 40 percent.
Currently, a summer meal site can be open if 50 percent or more of children in the area
qualify for free or reduced-price school meals as defined by school or census data. This
threshold keeps many communities with significant numbers of low-income children, but
not a high enough concentration of poverty, from participating. This would greatly impact
several parts of our service area, particularly in Schuyler and Tioga Counties, to allow more
open SFSP sites.
Increase reimbursement rates for all child nutrition programs to adequately cover the true
cost of providing nutritious meals.
Higher reimbursement levels would expand access, improve nutritional quality of food, and
allow more programs to break even. Increased nutritional foods available to children will also
help combat the obesity epidemic.
Secure federal resources, including USDA commodities, to support the operation of school
pantry and weekend BackPack programs.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tiers BackPack Program is entirely donor-funded. Now
in its ninth year as a Child Nutrition Program the BackPack Program has been requested
by other schools, but because the model is operated solely with donor resources, we cannot
grow it at this time. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is also researching school food
pantries as another model to reach hungry children and their families outside of school
program time. USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) currently operates many USDA food
programs which work to improve the health of low-income populations by supplementing
their diets with nutritious foods. Making more of this product available to community based
providers and schools can help meet the need.