Free and reduced price meal application data are used to allocate billions of dollars annually in education funding. However, schools serving universal free meals under the Community Eligibility Provision meal service option or USDA’s COVID-19 waivers do not typically collect school meal applications. The loss of this data has caused confusion among school administrators about potential impacts on education funding. As a result, this research brief aims to: (1) Provide an overview of universal free school meal benefits and approaches; (2) Summarize the intersections between universal free school meal approaches and educational funding; and (3) Identify opportunities for policy and practice to address the intersections between school meals and educational funding in order to improve access to school meals.
Published: July 2021
Publisher: Healthy Eating Research
Authors: Hecht AA, Dunn CG, Turner L, Fleischhacker S, Kenney E, Bleich SN
Costs, Reach, and Benefits of COVID-19 Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer and Grab-and-Go School Meals for Ensuring Youths’ Access to Food During School ClosuresSchool meals are associated with improved nutrition and health for millions of US children, but school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted children’s access to school meals. Two policy approaches, the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which provided the cash value of missed meals directly to families on debit-like cards to use for More
Pandemic-EBT and Grab-and-Go School Meals: Costs, reach, and benefits of two approaches to feeding children during school closures — Lessons from COVID-19 responsesCOVID-related school closures across the United States in spring 2020 disrupted the school meal programs that provide critical access to healthy food for millions of children — including children in elementary and middle school and adolescents in high school — from households with low incomes, leading to increased food insecurity. The United States Department of More