Federal Nutrition & Safety Programs

Child nutrition programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are open to participation by private schools.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service website offers a great deal of useful information pertaining to a variety of program options.  New nutrition guidelines for school meals are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Click HERE to view the website.

The programs sponsored by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are available to Catholic school students are:

National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs

The National School Lunch and the National School Breakfast Programs provide cash and commodity assistance to schools that serve meals that meet the dietary requirements of the statute. Through this program, schools provide free or reduced-price meals to students that qualify under the poverty guidelines of the program, which are adjusted for family size. Other children may purchase meals at cost. Schools receive reimbursement for each meal served. The highest rates of reimbursement are provided for meals served to children eligible for free meals and reduced-price meals.

Please note that the school does not have to offer a hot meal program. Meals may be prepared off-site as well as at the school, following established criteria.

Special Milk Program

The Special Milk Program reimburses participating schools for a portion of their expenditures in providing milk to students of all income ranges. Students may qualify for free milk under this program. Schools not participating in other federally funded food programs may participate

Summer Food Service Programs

During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. The Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need.  Click HERE for further information.

For information on the operation of the National School Lunch Program and all the Child Nutrition Programs, contact the State agency in your state that is responsible for the administration of the programs. Click HERE to find a listing of all State agencies.

Emergency Crisis Planning

In addition to the natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, schools are also faced with potential terrorist assaults involving explosive devices as well as biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological weapons.  School administrators are encouraged to review emergency plans in light of the many new threats that have emerged in the post-9/11 world.  
While the state and local governments may and should assist Catholic schools to prepare for crises such as terrorism, natural disasters or pandemic flu, individual action and responsibility are necessary for the success of any measures.  The creation of a plan with balanced and rational strategies may reduce risks and, in the worst case scenario, prepare school and community officials to effectively managing school emergency situations which cannot be prevented.
Although the risk of a crisis precipitated by these newer threats is generally low, no school can afford to be unprepared to deal with such a crisis.  

The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center has developed emergency operations plans for schools, institutions of higher education (IHEs) and Houses of Worship. These guides are a joint product of the Departments of Homeland Security, Education, Justice and Health and Human Services. These can use be used to create new plans as well as to revise and update existing plans and align emergency planning practices with those at the national, state, and local levels. Plans can be downloaded.