Programs, Promotions & Initiatives
U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs
- Virginia Direct Certification with Medicaid Demonstration Project: Virginia is one of only seven states in the nation using Medicaid income data to connect students to free or reduced price school meals through direct certification. The Department of Education, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Medical Assistance Services have partnered, through a data sharing agreement, to provide information to school divisions that is used to directly certify eligible students. Students who are Medicaid recipients, and whose household income meets the USDA National School Lunch Program guidelines for free meals (130% of the federal poverty level-FPL) or reduced price meals (185% of the FPL), are matched to school division enrollment records to certify their eligibility. This confidential direct certification process automatically certifies students for school meal benefits without an application.
The Medicaid Direct Certification Demonstration is producing positive results in its first year. The project has produced increases of five to ten percent in the number of students directly certified for free meals in some Virginia schools. The increases have resulted in more schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which provides breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students enrolled in the school. For the 2017-2018 school year, more than 340 schools and nearly 157,000 students are participating in CEP. That’s great news for Virginia families!
- The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assisted meal program that provides nutritionally balanced lunches to school-aged children. VDOE administers the NSLP at the state level, and school divisions operate the program at the local level through agreements with VDOE. Participating school divisions receive USDA cash subsidies and donated commodities for each meal served that meets federal nutrition standards – one third of daily recommended levels of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C and calories – and must provide free and reduced-price lunches to eligible children.
- The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritious breakfast meals to students. The U. S. Department of Agriculture administers this program at the Federal level. VDOE administers the program at the state level and school divisions administer the program at the local level. Breakfast menus must provide one-fourth of the daily recommended levels for protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calories. Participating schools must serve breakfasts that meet Federal nutrition standards – one quarter of daily recommended levels of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C and calories – and must provide free and reduced-price breakfasts to eligible children.
- Participating NSLP schools may sponsor an Afterschool Snack Program if they provide children with scheduled educational or enrichment activities after the school day. Schools receive reimbursement for snacks served to students. Snacks must contain at least two of the following four components: milk; meat/meat alternate; vegetable, fruit or full-strength juice; and whole-grain or enriched bread/ cereal. The program must be operated by the local school nutrition program to qualify for reimbursement.
- Participating NSLP schools may apply to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which is intended to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices; expand the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience; increase students' fruit and vegetable consumption; and make a difference in students' diets to impact their present and future health.
- Participating NSLP and SBP schools have the opportunity to feed students during academic summer school sessions through both the Summer National School Lunch Program and the Summer School Breakfast Program. Local school divisions may elect to participate in the programs during academic summer school sessions. All program regulations, meal requirements and funding are the same as the NSLP and SBP offered during the regular school year.
- The Summer Food Service Program is designed to give students in the community access to the nutritious, well-balanced meals they receive throughout the regular school year. The program allows sponsors to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program in areas where 50 percent of the children in the community are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
Private schools interested in participating in the National School Breakfast or Lunch Programs should contact Karen Patterson, Private School Specialist in the Office of School Nutrition, via email at Karen.Patterson@doe.virginia.gov.
School Nutrition Initiatives
- School Breakfast
- Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program
- Farm to School
- Team Nutrition Training Grant (TNTG)
- Virginia 365 Project to End Childhood Hunger
School Nutrition Promotions