School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted children’s access to school meals in 2020 and 2021. School food service authorities (SFAs), which are responsible for planning, sourcing, preparing, and serving school meals, had to rapidly convert their usual on-site meal service operations to more flexible and mobile strategies to distribute meals to students directly in the community. Understanding the strategies SFAs used to implement community distribution programs for school meals and identifying what kinds of support are needed for success can inform better planning for future crises that may cause disruptions to school meals. This brief summarizes the results from a study that investigated how food service directors from 12 of the largest SFAs in the United States tackled the challenge of providing school meals when school was out and how this “stress test” on the school meal system revealed ways to potentially strengthen the financial model for SFAs in the future.
Published: January 2022
Publisher: Healthy Eating Research
Authors: Kenney EL, Fleischhacker S, Dai J, Mozaffarian RS, Wilson K, West J, Shen Y, Dunn CG, Bleich SN
Implementing SNAP During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP AdministratorsSNAP was a critical component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The beginning of the pandemic saw the largest increase in applications in the program’s history, and the pandemic fundamentally altered how SNAP agencies deliver benefits, interact with participants, and provide supportive services. The goal of this research was to examine SNAP implementation during the first More
State Implementation of SNAP Waivers and Flexibilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives From State Agency LeadersThis study aimed to describe state agencies’ implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, barriers and facilitators to SNAP implementation, and recommendations to improve SNAP implementation. This study was qualitative, using 7 semistructured, virtual focus groups in April 2021 with state-level SNAP administrators and supportive services More