Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Monique K. Hilley
Beginning Jan. 3, students headed back to school at Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) after the holidays will face an increase in student meal prices mandated by The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Public Law 111-296).
Students participating in the DoD Student Meal Program that pay full price for their lunches will begin paying 35 cents more per meal. The new prices will be $2.40 for elementary students and $2.55 for secondary students.
The January 2012 school meal cost increase marks the first time in more than seven years that prices have risen. The last price increase was ten cents per meal in 2004.
Households qualifying for the Free and Reduced Meal Program will not be impacted by the meal cost increases. The cost of a reduced-price meal will remain unchanged at 40 cents per meal through school year 2013-2014.
The DoD Student Meal Program is an overseas school program authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act. It will remain a subsidized, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved and nutritious option for Navy families with school-age children.
“The Public Law requires a review and adjustment to student meal prices. This law, plus the fact that meal prices have not kept pace with the increased costs to provide meals during the past seven years, have led to an increase in prices,” said Charles S. Clymer Jr., program manager for Child and Youth Programs for Commander, Navy Installations Command Headquarters’ Fleet and Family Readiness.
“Just like everything else, the cost of quality food, labor and equipment increase each year, and this increase will help ensure school food authorities have funding available to support serving nutritious meals to all students,” said Clymer.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama Dec. 13, 2010, mandates changes to school lunch and breakfast programs nationwide with a focus of improving child nutrition.
The legislation authorizes funding and sets policy for USDA’s core child nutrition programs: the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
For more information on DoD meal programs, families are encouraged to contact their local school’s Navy Liaison School Officer.