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Hawai‘i schools to receive $1.41M for healthy meals

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) announced on Friday, Oct. 7, that Hawai‘i will receive $1,417,688 in new federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support school meal programs.

The money will help schools provide students with nutritious meals, supporting families that face food insecurity and addressing food shortages amid supply chain challenges.

“Kids throughout Hawai‘i rely on school meals so that they can stay healthy and succeed in school,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a statement. “This funding will help make sure that schools have the resources they need to continue providing their students with nutritious meals.”

The funding is part of $471.5 million from the USDA for schools to address supply chain disruptions and make sure increased food costs don’t harm school meal programs. The new funding follows a December 2021 announcement of nearly $5 million, and a July 2022 announcement of more than $3 million from the USDA to help support school food programs in Hawai‘i.

In July, Schatz secured a provision in this year’s draft appropriations bill that would direct the USDA to temporarily increase its school meal reimbursement rate for Hawai‘i, while the agency completes its yearslong study to update its severely outdated cost estimates for school meals, which have not changed since 1979.