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USDA Helps Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to Improve Nutrition of School-Aged Kids

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced awards to help four states improve enrollment in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs through a process called direct certification. Direct certification requires states and local educational agencies to automatically enroll students from households already participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, without an additional application from the child’s family to assist low-income households with children eligible for free meals at school.

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USDA Announces New Tactics to Combat Fraud and Enhance SNAP Program Integrity

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced a new range of aggressive tactics to further improve program integrity of USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly known as food stamps. The announcement is part of the Obama Administration's ongoing Campaign to Cut Waste which highlights efforts to root out waste, fraud and abuse so that federal dollars are invested wisely. The tactics announced by USDA underscore an unprecedented approach to combat trafficking – the use of SNAP benefits for anything other than the purchase of food from authorized retailers, including the sale or exchange of benefits in SNAP.

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USDA Awards Grants to Improve Kids' Nutrition Access During Summer

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced significant investments in states and tribal areas across the country to test innovative ways to address a critical need – providing low-income children with access to healthy nutrition during the summer.

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USDA Invests in Research on Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs

Agriculture Under Secretary Dr. Catherine Woteki today announced new research grants and cooperative agreement awards in eight states and the District of Columbia designed to examine, evaluate, and enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) nutrition assistance programs.

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Joins First Lady Michelle Obama to Salute HealthierUS School Challenge Award Winners

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined First Lady Michelle Obama to honor schools taking part in USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge. The First Lady hosted a reception on the South Lawn to honor the 1,273 schools that met her goal to double the number of participants in the Challenge in a year. The Challenge recognizes schools that create healthier school environments by providing exceptional nutrition education, nutritious food and beverage choices, physical education and opportunities for physical activity.

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USDA Highlights School Nutrition Advances During National School Lunch Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted positive changes in the school meals programs to promote children's health during National School Lunch Week, Oct. 10-14. USDA, along with its partners, celebrate the program's accomplishments, including the achievements of HealthierUS School Challenge honorees and the enactment of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

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National School Lunch Week

During our celebration of National School Lunch Week, millions of children will line up in cafeterias across the country to eat school meals. This year, parents should be encouraged that many more schools will be providing healthier options that their kids want to eat.

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USDA Announces Winners in Summer Food Service Program Story and Photo Contest

Today, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service announced the winners of the first ever Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) "Food, Fun and Sun!" Story and Photo contest to highlight how the program provides free, healthy meals to children in low-income areas during the summer. Launched earlier in the summer, USDA received over 100 submissions representing sponsors and sites in over forty states.

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USDA Announces Results of Summer Feeding Pilots to Help Prevent Childhood Hunger When School is Out

USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today highlighted the results of two Summer Food Service Program pilot programs in Arkansas and Mississippi that used incentives to increase participation among low-income children. The study found that the innovative pilot programs were associated with an increased average participation rate among kids in the Summer Food Service Programs by 35 percent in Arkansas and 19 percent in Mississippi.

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USDA Announces Grants to Improve the Health and Future of America's Children

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced investments across the country to help children develop positive nutrition and physical activity habits that can lead to healthier lifestyles. The grants will provide nutrition education materials, resources for children and parents, and technical assistance and training for school food service providers and communities participating in the National School Lunch and Child and Adult Care Food Programs. The $6.4 million in funding supports elementary and secondary schools applying for the HealthierUS School Challenge, a key component of the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation.

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USDA Report Outlines Food Insecurity in America

USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Under Secretary Kevin Concannon today announced the results of USDA's Household Food Security in the United States, 2010 report that found that the percentage of very low food security declined from 5.7 percent of households in 2009 to 5.4 percent in 2010. The USDA study indicated that in 2010, 17.2 million households in America had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources. The number of food insecure households in 2010 was relatively consistent with statistics released in 2008 and 2009.

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USDA Awards Grants to Improve Efficiency and Accuracy of National School Meal Program Operations

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced investments in the national school meal program that will protect taxpayer dollars while providing healthy school meals for low-income kids.  The Administrative Review and Training Grants help states improve their operational accuracy in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. The grants highlight the work of states in improving the integrity and efficiency of program administration and delivery.

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USDA Announces Historic School Nutrition Improvements as Children Return to School

Today, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon hosted a conference call to highlight the historic school nutrition reforms and improvements that students and families will see in the new school year. The reforms, delivered through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), are improving the nutritional quality of school meals and bolstering the entire school environment. Concannon also announced that schools nationwide reached First Lady Michelle Obama's goal of 1,250 schools receiving HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) honors for expanding nutrition and physical activity opportunities.

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USDA Awards Grants to Reduce Hunger and Improve Nutrition of School-Aged Kids by Improving Enrollment in School Meals Programs

 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new investments in New Hampshire and Idaho to help eliminate childhood hunger and improve nutrition and health for school-aged kids. The grants are awarded to the two state agencies to reduce paperwork and expedite certification of students for free meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs through a process called direct certification.

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USDA Announces Winner in First Lady's Recipes for Healthy Kids Contest

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator Audrey Rowe yesterday announced the winner of First Lady Michelle Obama's Recipes for Healthy Kids competition. The contest launched last year to challenge students, parents and other interested community members to create tasty and healthy new recipes for America's school cafeteria menus.

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USDA Launches Contest to Celebrate Success in the Summer Food Service Program

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service today launched a photo contest to look for and promote best practices in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The competition, Food, Fun and Sun! The Summer Food Service Program Story and Photo Contest, is open to sponsors and sites participating in the SFSP, which provides free, healthy meals to children in low-income areas during the summer.

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Highlights School Meal Improvements to National School Nutrition Advocates

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today highlighted the importance of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and announced the findings of USDA's first Farm to School report during the 2011 School Nutrition Association national convention. Merrigan delivered remarks to thousands of school nutrition professionals at the three-day event which provided an opportunity to discuss the Obama administration's efforts to improve the health and nutrition of meals served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.

The Communications Division coordinates public and media communications for the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area. For media inquiries, please contact FNSpress@usda.gov or 703-305-2281.