USDA Food and Nutrition Service Awards Approximately $1 Million Training Grant to Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Western Region announced today the award of a $999,887 grant to the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) which administers the National School Lunch Program in Washington. The grant, formally known as FNS's “Team Nutrition Training Grants for School Nutrition Professional Readiness and Retention”, will help allow the OSPI to build and retain a strong school nutrition workforce and implement transitional meal pattern standards during the upcoming school year. Washington state will use Team Nutrition Training Grant funds to expand their coaching and mentoring program for school nutrition professionals to reach underserved counties. In addition, they will award up to 30 sub-grants of up to $2,000 to help school food authorities implement scratch cooking.
“Nutritious school meals help America's children learn, grow, and stay healthy,” said FNS Western Regional Administrator Jesus Mendoza, Jr. “School nutrition professionals in Washington have made incredible strides in strengthening the school meals programs over the past 10 years and USDA is committed to supporting them in this effort.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected school meal service across the country. Schools have experienced school nutrition labor shortages and staff turnover as well as supply chain disruptions. Many schools have operated under temporary waivers of specific meal pattern requirements during this pandemic. USDA will continue to work with schools and all those that support them to make practical changes on realistic timelines, and to deliver meals that are not only nutritious but that kids will enjoy.
“School meals are a proven approach to improving nutrition security. Research shows that they are the most nutritious foods most children receive in the day,” said Mr. Mendoza. “USDA and the Biden Administration are committed to prioritizing nutrition security – consistent access to healthy, affordable foods and beverages that promote good health. While it's not easy to alter eating habits and schools face hurdles to improving nutrition, the future payoffs of even incremental changes are extraordinary, and schools have shown that it is possible when we work together.”
OSPI is one of eight state agencies around the nation that received funds from this year's USDA Team Nutrition Training Grant, which totaled approximately $7.1 million.
Team Nutrition Training Grants have been a part of the Team Nutrition initiative since its inception in 1995. The Team Nutrition initiative supports FNS's Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and activities to build healthy school and childcare environments.
For more information about this year's Team Nutrition training grants, visit: FY 2022 Team Nutrition Training Grants.
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