Mankato school’s director of food services urges congress to fund school meal programs
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Earlier this week, more than 800 school nutrition professionals came together in Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to pass legislation that supports school meal programs.
One of those professionals came from the Mankato Area Public School district.
“Advocacy is very important. If you’re passionate about something it’s good to get out there and make sure that your voice is heard,” said Stueber.
Mankato Area School District’s Darcy Stueber actively participates in the national School Nutrition Association, which appeared in front of Congress for the 51st annual Legislative Action Conference (LAC).
Stueber says school meal programs face consistent financial, supply chain, and labor issues- and a major source of federal funding from the Keep Kids Fed Act will be expiring this upcoming June.
“The Keep Kids Fed Act that we’ve been operating under this last school year gives us an extra 40 cents for lunch and 15 cents for breakfast. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it does add up when you add up how many meals we serve every day,” said Stueber.
MAPS’ current free and reduced meal rate for the district is at 34% of students, which is why Stueber says advocacy for funding is more important than ever.
“It just helped keep the costs under control with inflation and the increase of meal or food prices. Our grocery bill is quite large at our school district,” said Stueber.
The S-A-N members lobbied for Congress to pass two bills that would permanently increase federal funds, offer free, universal school meals for all students nationwide, and preserve current school nutrition standards.
“For us, and for myself, school nutrition is extremely important for our next generation. We just want to make sure that we can provide healthy and nutritious meals for our students. An empty stomach cannot learn,” said Stueber.
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