Nutrition Program Bulletin – Week of April 6, 2020

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Nutrition Program Bulletin – Week of April 6, 2020

Each section contains updates relevant to those nutrition programs. You can jump to the section you're interested in by clicking the link.

All Programs

Area Eligibility Waiver 

Minnesota received an Area Eligibility Waiver from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will allow some closed enrolled sites to operate as open sites. Before choosing whether or not to charge paid households, we encourage districts to wait for guidance from MDE about their eligibility to be an open site under Minnesota’s Area Eligibility Waiver from USDA. MDE is currently developing guidance and an application process. If you think you may be eligible, please wait for further instructions which will be distributed in a special bulletin by the end of this week.


Meal Pattern Waiver Question and Answer (Q&A) Document

The COVID-19 Nationwide Waiver to Allow Meal Pattern Flexibility in the Child Nutrition Programs waives the requirement to serve meals that meet the meal pattern requirements if there is a disruption to the availability of food products resulting from unprecedented impacts of COVID-19. Please review the Child Nutrition Meal Pattern Waiver Q&A before submitting your waiver request. Meal pattern waiver requests must be submitted by sponsor (not site) contacts. 


Free Meals for Kids Mobile App (repeat from last week) 

The Free Meals for Kids mobile app is ready! You can access the app through the Hunger Impact Partners website or at Apple or Google Play app stores. Please share this information with your personal and professional networks and through social media sites. Let's work together to ensure hungry kids don't miss a meal during school closures. 


Price Gouging

The USDA website contains information on what to do if you suspect price gouging. View the Frequently Asked Questions section on Reporting Market ConcernsThe Department of Justice created a task force to address COVID-19-related market manipulation, hoarding, and price gouging. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Justice - Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Child and Adult Care Programs

Community Nutrition COVID-19 Webinar Series 

Weekly webinars are scheduled on Wednesdays, 2-3:30 p.m., to discuss questions related to COVID-19 waivers and guidance in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Select the links below to register for these webinars. 

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Food Distribution

USDA Regular Commodities

School Year (SY) 2019-20 trucks are still arriving. Distributors should continue picking up food products from Newport Cold Storage. Sponsors should accept deliveries unless other arrangements have been made. 


Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program continues to operate as normal with all orders and deliveries. The DoD entitlement must be used in the program year it is allocated and will not rollover. Unused balances will be lost. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) does not have control over this. All SY 2019-20 orders must be delivered by June 30, 2020. The SY 2020- 21 entitlement will be available July 1, 2020.


Processor (Net-Off-Invoice and Fee-For-Service) 

Due to COVID-19, processor balances will not be swept at this time. MDE and has not decided on a date of sweeping or if it will happen this school year. You will be notified of a decision via the Bulletin as soon as more information is available.


Donating Foods 

USDA Foods may be donated to another sponsor or to a charitable organization without MDE approval under 7 CFR 250.14 (d). Maintain records of the donation. If a School Food Authority (SFA) has food to donate but is unsure of another SFA in need, reach out to Donating food prevents waste due to expiration and can help others in this time of need. USDA Foods may not be sold. 



MDE will communicate with you about entitlements as soon as information is available.   

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School Nutrition Programs

National School Lunch Program Equipment Grant

We are nearing the completion of awarding the SY20 National School Lunch Equipment Grant funds. Thank you to all of the School Food Authorities who applied. We expect to send out award notices later this week. 


School Nutrition COVID-19 Webinar Updates 

Weekly webinars will be held on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. to update school nutrition program staff on issues related to COVID-19. Select the link below to register for  next week's webinar. 

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