On Friday, March 23, 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 1625 (115), otherwise known as Congress’ massive fiscal year 2018 spending bill. The over 2,000-page, $1.3 trillion dollar bill was introduced in the House on Wednesday night and passed on Thursday in a 256-167 vote, then went to the Senate where it was passed on Friday morning on a 65-32 vote. The bill needed to be signed into law before midnight on Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
The massive funding bill included $2 million for training school food service personnel. The funds may be accessed by a professional organization, such as SNA, to develop a training program for school nutrition personnel that focuses on school food service meal preparation and workforce development. The bill also provides $30 million for competitive grants to State agencies for sub grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools to purchase equipment with a value of at least $1,000. The grants may be used to facilitate serving healthier meals, improve food safety, and to help support the establishment, maintenance, or expansion of school breakfast. In addition, the Omnibus bill included $5 million in funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, which doubles current available funding.
At a time when funding is hard to come by, the inclusion of our critical school nutrition programs is a recognition by Congress of the important role our programs play in the lives of hungry children.