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Update from SNA on Block Grants

Fri, Jun 3rd 2016 09:30 am

         June 2, 2016

Dear SNA Members:

On behalf of SNA's Board of Directors, we want to update you on SNA's activities in response to the recent school meal block grant proposal and urge you to support our efforts to defeat this serious threat.

Last month, the US House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill that contains a school meal block grant pilot project. Specifically, H.R. 5003, The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, would allow three states to participate in the pilot, which is widely considered as opening the door to a national block grant proposal.

SNA has a long history of fighting to protect school meal programs from the threat of block grants, which strip programs of vital funding, limit student access to meals and abolish federal mandates that preserve the quality of school meals nationwide. In 1995, we led the charge to beat back Congress' attempt to replace federal child nutrition programs with block grants as part of "The Contract with America." School nutrition professionals united to defeat that proposal, and Congressional leaders admitted they had been "school lunched."

H.R. 5003 marks the first serious attempt to block grant our programs since that historic fight. As soon as this block grant pilot was proposed, SNA took action to voice members' strong opposition to any block grant proposal. SNA immediately mobilized members to contact Congress regarding the proposal through emails, phone calls and even tweets. With your help, we have already sent more than 8,000 Action Alert letters opposing H.R. 5003. SNA's opposition to block grants, and the potential impact of the pilot, have also been widely reported on by Capitol Hill and national media outlets.

SNA is working with our state affiliates, partner organizations and allies in Congress to build on these efforts through group letters, events on Capitol Hill and more. This week, SNA and all SNA state affiliates sent a letter to key Members of Congress regarding the damage block grants would do to school meal programs. As a member of the Child Nutrition Forum, SNA is also joining allied hunger, nutrition and health groups in sending a separate letter to Congress on the threat posed by block grants.

In the coming weeks, and during the Annual National Conference in San Antonio, we will call on members to engage in this effort. Working together we can overcome any effort to include block grant language in a final Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.

I know many of you may have questions about the House proposal and what it means for school meal programs. SNA has developed this fact sheet and FAQs to help. If you haven't already reached out to your representatives, click here to learn how you can make a difference. Please stay tuned to www.SchoolNutrition.org as we continue to call on members to participate in this effort.




Jean Ronnei, SNS

Patricia Montague, CAE
Chief Executive Officer