A rotten deal for schools? An assessment of states' success with the National School Lunch Program's in-kind food benefit
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is one of the United States' largest domestic food aid programs. The NSLP provides states with both cash and commodity foods for school meals. This research assessed the success of the school commodity program by comparing states' available annual funding to the value of foods that states actually received from 2001 to 2009. Results indicate that an in-kind food funding system is not desirable for schools; states failed to receive entitled commodity food value in most years, resulting in annual funding losses for schools of $35-87 million. Inconsistent funding inhibits schools' ability to improve meals and, ultimately, child nutrition outcomes. In light of these results, it is recommended that a cash benefit should replace the National School Lunch Program's commodity food program.
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