Advocate for Healthy School Meals & Food Security
- Universal free school meals for all students and elimination of meal debt policies that shame or humiliate students
- Funding for farm to school programs, kitchen equipment upgrades, infrastructure improvements and staff training, to support cooking from scratch and the use of salad bars;
- Processing and procurement grants that enable more fresh, locally-grown, whole foods to be served in school cafeterias;
- Uphold standards for high-quality, high-nutrition meals and eliminate the sale of competetive foods in school cafeterias;
- Funding, curriculm, and policies that support active school garden programs;
- Wellness policies that provide families with helpful nutrition information;
- Wellness & School Meal Committees that provide a forum for students, parents, staff and interested community members to provide input on school meal programs
- Legislation that requires eligible school divisions to participate in the USDA’s federal after-school meal program
- Legislation that requires eligible school divisions to particiate in the USDA’s Community Eligibility Program. (When your school participates in the USDA’s Community Eligibility Program (CEP) it means EVERY student receives free breakfast and lunch — there is no paper work for parents to complete, no stigma for students and less time in cashier lines and processing paperwork for school staff.)
- Legislation that prohibited school boards from filing a lawsuit against a student’s parent because the student cannot pay for a meal at school or owes school meal debt.
- Local food and farming infrastructure grant programs that support local food production and sustainable farming which expands acess to locally grown foods being served in school cafeterias.
? EXPANDED ACCESS! In 2022 Virginia PTA successfully advocated for extension of the federal free school meal waivers through summer 2022 including grab-and-go options and $8.2 million of state funding to help local school divisions eliminate the cost of school meals for students who are eligible for reduced-price meals based on federal income criteria
ADVOCATE FOR HEALTHY SCHOOL MEALS & REDUCE FOOD INSECURITY
Start advocating for the students in your community by sharing information about how to access food assistance programs and work to reduce stigma about eating school meals and free/reduced price meals.
Your PTA may also like to consider hosting a Family Tasting Night or partnering with your School Social Worker to host of food drive or start a program that connects families with meals over weekends and school breaks.
Help #TakeAction4Kids and #ChildHungerPrevention by speaking at Board of Supervisor or School Board meetings, emailing your legislators, getting active on social media, writting letters to editor, joining a virtual rally or attend Virginia PTA’s Capitol Day.
TOOLKITS FOR PTAs
- National PTA School Meal Leader Guide
- Healthy School Meals
- Family Tasting Night
- Support the School Nutrition Services & Food Services Team
- Improve the Cafeteria
- Focus on Meal and Menu Quality
- Improve Perceptions of School Meals
PTA POSITIONS & POLICY LETTERS
- Virginia PTA Resolution: Discontinue Sale of Competitive Foods During School Hours
- Virginia PTA Resolution: Agriculture Education, School Gardens and Farm to School (LEARN MORE)
- Virginia PTA Policy Letter: SNAP Categorical Eligibility (September 2019)
- Virginia PTA Policy Letter: USDA Simplifying Meal Service Rules Roll-back (April 2020)
- Virginia PTA Policy Letter: USDA School Meal Access Pandemic Waiver Sign-On (209 KB) (August 2020)
- Virginia PTA Policy Letter: USDA School Meal Waiver Extension until June 30, 2021 Sign-On (257 KB) (September 2020)
- National PTA Position: Improving School Meals
- National PTA Position: Nutrition for Children and Families
- National PTA Policy Letters