By Caragh Corcoran - Director, Programs and Events
Since the End Student Hunger Fund’s (formerly the Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund) launch in March 2020, GENYOUth has received a total of 15,043 applications requesting $43.2 million in grant funding. Of applications received, 29% have requested support to transport and serve food outside of the cafeteria; 24% requested support for cold storage; 21% for sanitation aids; 11% for stipends; 10% for meal preparation; and 5% have requested funding for other related needs.
To date, GENYOUth has awarded $13.42 million in cash and in-kind to over 10,000 school nutrition programs across the country, helping to deliver upwards of 8.3 Million daily meals to students. Over $6,000 has been raised via the GlobalGiving platform from your generosity.
As indicated in our last update, with USDA’s unprecedented decision to extend healthy school meals FREE OF CHARGE to ALL students regardless of household income through June 2022, GENYOUth collected survey data from over 1,000 school nutrition professionalsnationwide to assess urgent concerns and needs for school nutrition programs as they prepare to feed more students during the school year. The attached report provides an executive summary of key learnings. Several important findings noted in the report include:
Student hunger and food insecurity remain a top concern for schools.
Nearly half expect meal participation to increase due to USDA waivers, along with more students returning to the school building.
With continued pandemic precautions, the majority will continue to offer multiple meal delivery options (cafeteria, classroom, grab and go, off campus, etc.)
1 in 4 are adding additional meal dayparts (breakfast, supper, afterschool.)
Top challenges include staffing shortages, equipment needs, difficulty forecasting meals, and financial uncertainty.
The most urgent unmet equipment need is cold storage for meal distribution/delivery to students within and outside of the school.
USDA’s extension of Universal School Meals through June 2022 creates opportunity to grow school meal participation. Yet, anticipated increase in meal participation levels intensify existing challenges. Schools continue to have an urgent unmet need for equipment, especially for the cold storage of milk and other perishable items.
GENYOUth is committed to raise additional funding to support the growing number of applications from school nutrition programs in need of assistance. In addition to our corporate and individual support, GENYOUth and the End Student Hunger Fund will be the beneficiary of the net proceeds from the 2022 Taste of the NFL, the NFL’s largest charitable event at the Super Bowl. We thank you again for your support and look forward to continuing our support of school nutrition programs throughout the remainder of the 2021-22 school year and beyond.
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