In 1946, the federal government made a promise to America’s families that students will always have access to healthy meals at school. Today, more than 30 million students rely on federally funded school meals to provide the nutrition they need to succeed. Unfortunately, Members of Congress have proposed a drastic change to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) that would eliminate that longstanding guarantee. Proposed fixed-sum block grants to the states would result in severe funding cuts and the elimination of federal nutrition standards. Schools would be unable to serve additional at-risk students when economic downturns or rising enrollments increase the number of children who need free or reduced price meals. Even children who need temporary assistance due to a natural disaster could be denied school meals. The Stop the Block Coalition, a project of the School Nutrition Association, has been organized to prevent harsh and unnecessary changes to federal school meal programs.
• Since NSLP’s and SBP’s founding, every family that meets federal requirements is eligible for free or reduced price meals for their children at school.
• Under block grants, the federal government would send a fixed amount of money to a state and ask the state to develop its own school meals programs with little or no federal standards or oversight. The traditional federal school meal program will end as we know it.
• Block grants represent a dramatic and dangerous shift in the philosophy of the NSLP and SBP that will put millions of children at risk, hurt jobs and the economy and break our nation’s promise to provide a safety net for America’s most vulnerable children and families.
• Proposals to fund the NSLP and SBP through block grants to states would:
Properly nourished children perform better academically, have better attendance records and fewer behavioral problems than those who are not. Preventing block grant funding of the NSLP and SBP is a top priority for the Stop the Block Coalition.