WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/20/20]–U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said that the Minnesota Department of Education is receiving a $300,000 grant to develop, standardize, prepare and test recipes for School Nutrition Programs that feature local Minnesota agriculture products including beets, greens, squash and carrots. The meals will be created with input from statewide partners including school nutrition professionals. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
Sens. Klobuchar and Smith said that it’s important that students have access to nutritious meals, especially during the pandemic.
“It is critical that we provide assistance to schools so that they can provide effective and nutritious meals to our students,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This grant funding will help ensure that school meal programs in Minnesota continue to focus on healthy and local options. In these times of uncertainty and with rising food insecurity, we need to ensure that the nutrition needs of our students are met. I will continue to advocate and support healthier school meal plans.”
“As families across Minnesota and the country grapple with the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, it’s critical that children have access to school meals,” said Sen. Smith. “Everyone knows you can’t learn or perform well when you are hungry. This funding will help develop nutritious meals that include ingredients from Minnesota agriculture to boot.”
In August, Sens. Klobuchar and Smith joined a Senate push to ensure that school meal programs remain available to millions of students in Minnesota and across the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic regardless of school re-opening status.
In May Sen. Smith also introduced her Suspend School Meal Debt Act, which would help families struggling to make ends meet amidst the coronavirus pandemic by cancelling school meal debt. Last year, Sen. Smith introduced the No Shame at School Act with U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN 5) to prohibit public schools from shaming students who are unable to pay for school meals or who have outstanding debt.