UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE
 

The mission of the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is to provide children and families better access to food and a more healthful diet through its food assistance programs and comprehensive nutrition education efforts. FNS administers the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Special Milk Program (SMP). Residential child care institutions are eligible to participate in these programs. However, to participate in these programs, they must be approved by the State agency administering these programs.

FNS works in partnership with the States in all its programs. States determine most administrative details regarding distribution of food benefits and eligibility of participants, and FNS provides funding to cover most of the States' administrative costs. However, the Southeast Regional Office serves as the State agency for residential child care institutions in (RCCI's) in Georgia and RCCI's private schools in South Carolina. RCCI's in Georgia And South Carolina that are interested in participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, or Special Milk Programs should contact the Southeast Regional Office. The phone number is (404) 562-7080 or (404) 562-7050.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), formerly known as the Food and Consumer Service, administers the nutrition assistance programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mission of FNS s to provide children and needy families better access to food and a more healthful diet through its food assistance programs and comprehensive nutrition education efforts.

FNS has elevated nutrition and nutrition education to a top priority in all its programs. In addition to providing access to nutritious food, FNS also works to empower program participants with knowledge of the link between diet and health.

The agency was established August 8, 1969, but many of the food programs originated long before FNS existed as a separate agency. The Food Stamp Program, now the cornerstone of USDA's nutrition assistance, was begun in its modern form in 1961, but it had its origins in the Food Stamp Plan to help the needy in the 1930s.. The National School Lunch Program also has its roots in Depression-era efforts to help low-income children. The Needy Family program, which has evolved into the food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, was the primary means of food assistance during the Great Depression.

FNS works in partnership with the States in all its programs. States determine most administrative details regarding distribution of food benefits and eligibility of participants, and FNS provides funding to cover most of the States' administrative costs.

National School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program provides cash reimbursements and commodity foods to help support non-profit food services in elementary and secondary schools, and in residential child care institutions. Every school day, more than 26 million children in 94,000 schools across the country eat a lunch provided through the National School Lunch Program. More than half of these children receive the meal free or at a reduced price.

USDA recognize the program's national health responsibility to provide school meals that meet nutrition objectives. Regulations require school meals to meet nutritional standards and to comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Federal policy on what constitutes a healthful diet.

Child and Adult Care Food Program

This program provides cash reimbursements and commodity foods for meals served in child and adult day care centers, and family and group day care homes for children.

Special Milk Program

Children in schools, summer camps and child care institutions that have no Federally supported meal program receive milk through the Special Milk Program. In 1997, more than 140 million half-pints of milk were served through SMP.

Homeless Children Nutrition Program

The Homeless Children Nutrition Program reimburses providers for nutritious meals served to homeless preschool-age children in emergency shelters. First established as a demonstration project in 1989, the Homeless Children Nutrition Program was made permanent in 1994.

For more information, contact the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Public Information Staff at (703) 305-2286, or by mail at 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 819, Alexandria, VA 22302. The Food and Nutrition Service was formerly known as the Food and Consumer Service. Fact sheets and other information on FNS programs are available on the FNS home page at www. usda.gov/fcs, and will soon be offered on anew web site: www.usda.gov/fns.

GAHSC can give you more information about our sponsored vendor who manages these programs for the membership.