The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need to provide healthy school meals, especially given its disproportionate impact on people with diet-related diseases and communities of color. Investing in school nutrition programs to help establish life-long healthy eating habits is more important than ever. In order to meet the needs of children, school nutrition professionals must be given the tools to serve healthy meals.
Even before the pandemic, nearly 90% of schools needed at least one piece of updated school kitchen equipment. When schools do not have adequate equipment, they are forced to use costly and inefficient workarounds. As schools stretch to respond to food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic while also facing significant financial losses from this crisis, providing an infusion of additional funding can help ensure schools are prepared to serve healthy, nutritious foods when schools return to normal operations. This is also an opportunity to equip school kitchens for future emergency scenarios.
U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Tina Smith (Minn.) introduced the bipartisan School Food Modernization Act of 2021 (S. 876), which will expand schools' ability to modernize kitchen infrastructure and equipment, strengthen workforce training and support emergency preparedness for the future.
Contact your Senators today and ask them to co-sponsor this important bill.