Release No. 0326.11
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
USDA Awards Grants to Reduce Hunger
and Improve Nutrition of School-Aged Kids by Improving Enrollment in School
WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today
announced new investments in New Hampshire and Idaho to help eliminate childhood
hunger and improve nutrition and health for school-aged kids. The grants are
awarded to the two state agencies to reduce paperwork and expedite certification
of students for free meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast
Programs through a process called direct certification.
"Direct certification is a useful tool that allows us to get healthy meals to
our kids so that they get access to the nutrition they need to learn and
thrive," said Vilsack. "These grants will help states improve their direct
certification process so that fewer eligible families will have to fill out
duplicative paperwork for healthy school meals."
With direct certification, states and local, educational agencies can
automatically enroll students from households already participating in the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or the Food Distribution Program on
Indian Reservations without requiring the child's family to complete an
additional application. The investments announced today are intended to help
improve direct certification rates for children in households receiving
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Agencies administering the
National School Lunch Program in New Hampshire and Idaho were chosen to
receive the grants provided by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug
Administration and Related Agencies Act of 2010. Idaho will receive $513,190 and
New Hampshire, $109,916. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service expects to award
additional grants to states meeting eligibility requirements each quarter over
the next year. Direct Certification Grants totaling nearly $3 million have been
made to 15 states since January, including those announced today.
Under Secretary Kevin Concannon underscored the importance of the grants,
"Direct certification is a trifecta for schools, parents and children. Schools
and parents benefit from reduced paperwork, and children get better access to
healthy school meals.," he said. "And these grants help states do that."
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance
programs that, in addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and
National School Lunch Program, also include the Special Supplemental Nutrition
Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Summer Food Service Program.
Taken together, these programs comprise America's nutrition safety net.
For more information about the Direct Certification Grants, visit: