ATLANTA, Ga., May 17, 2022 – The US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Southeast Regional Office announced today the award of a $1,000,000 grant to Alabama Department of Education, which administers the National School Lunch Program in the state. The grant, formally known as FNS’s “Team Nutrition Training Grant for School Nutrition Professional Readiness and Retention,” will help allow the Alabama Department of Education (ALSDE) to build and retain a strong school nutrition workforce and implement transitional meal pattern standards during the upcoming school year. The state will create and implement a universal Meal Pattern Training Program that will enable School Nutrition Professionals in rural Alabama school districts the opportunity to provide nutritious, palatable school meals that are compliant with USDA Meal Pattern Requirements and align with the Healthy-Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.
“Nutritious school meals are essential to the ability of America’s children to learn, grow and be healthy,” said FNS Southeast Regional Administrator Willie C. Taylor. “We are grateful to the nutrition professionals at the Alabama Department of Education who have demonstrated a tireless dedication to ensure children receive the nutritious meals they need.”
“Being able to revamp our school meals programs in Alabama will ultimately enable School Food Authorities to improve meal services, boost student satisfaction and participation, and increase program access for ALL students and families,” said ALSDE Director of Child Nutrition Programs, Angelice Lowe. “We will also be able to work towards our ultimate goals of preventing childhood hunger, building strong families, and helping our communities thrive.”
“School meals are a proven approach to improving nutritional security. Research shows that they are the most nutritious foods most children receive in the day,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “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.”
Alabama’s Department of Education is one of eight state agencies around the nation that received funds from this year’s USDA Team Nutrition Training Grants, which totaled approximately $7.1 million. The other awardees are the Departments of Education from Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Offices of Public Instruction from Montana, North Dakota, and Washington.
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 food service, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and activities to build healthy school and childcare environments.
For more information about the application process for this year’s Team Nutrition Training Grants, visit Team Nutrition Training Grants.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.
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