National School Lunch Program

In Rhode Island, the National School Lunch Program provides nutritious, low-cost or free lunches to over 72,000 children daily. Schools that take part in the lunch program get cash subsidies and donated foods from USDA.

Participating program Sponsors include all public schools, state schools and charter schools, and some private schools, special needs citizen centers, and residential child care institutions.

All public schools in Rhode Island are mandated by state law to provide lunches.

Children from families with income:

  • Up to 130 % of poverty level are eligible for free meals.
  • Between 130 to 185 % of poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals ($.40 or less).
  • Over 185 % of poverty pay a price determined by the school or institution for their subsidized meal.

69 % of the lunches served in Rhode Island are served free or at the reduced price.

For additional program information contact:

Stephen Carey, MS RD Nutrition/ School Health Specialist
Stephen.carey@ride.ri.gov  
401-222-8936

or

Sandra Fabrizio, MS
Sandra.fabrizio@ride.ri.gov
401-222-4682

Schools which participate in the National School Lunch Program maybe eligible to participate in the following initiatives:

Farm to School Program

The term “Farm to School” encompasses efforts that bring local or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias; hands-on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes; and the integration of food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum.

All schools are encouraged to participate in the Farm to School Program.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports such efforts through its Farm to School Program, which includes research, training, technical assistance, and grants. In Rhode Island, Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a great resource for Farm to School Programs.

Learn more about the Farm to School Program.

Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program

Schools in the National School Lunch Program are eligible to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which provides all children in participating schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day. The fruit and vegetables are offered separately from the lunch or breakfast meals. It is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options.

The goals of the FFVP are to:

  • Create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices.
  • Expand the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience
  • Increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health.

Funded by USDA, the FFVP is administered by the Rhode Island Department of Education, Child Nutrition Program. 

To be selected to participate in the program a school must:

  • Be an elementary school.
  • Represent the highest percentage of students certified for free/reduced price meal benefits.
  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Learn more about the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program and see additional materials below:

Healthier US School Challenge

In order to encourage schools to create and maintain a healthy school environment, USDA has established the Healthier US School Challenge (HUSSC).  This national initiative recognizes schools at the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Gold of Distinction award levels for

  1. Serving school lunches that reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans;
  2. Restricting the availability of foods and beverages at school to those that meet healthier guidelines of lower fat, added sugars, and sodium;
  3. Offering nutrition education for students to learn to make healthy choices; and
  4. Providing physical education and opportunities for students to be physically active during the school day.

Learn more about the Healthier US School Challenge.

More helpful information on the:

The new Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) makes it easier for all children in low-income communities have access to healthy meals at school.  CEP allows schools in high poverty areas to offer nutritious meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to all students at no change while eliminating school meal applications. Contact Becky Bessette for additional information on CEP in RI. 

The CEP Fact Sheet provides an overview of the Community Eligibility Program.

Here is the updated Listing of RI Schools Eligible for Community Eligibility Provision in 2014 2015

For additional information, check the USDA CEP website and the Food Research and Action Center website. 

CEP Reimbursement Estimator (calculator tool) allows schools that are considering the Community Eligibility Provision to calculate their estimated federal reimbursement they will receive.  This will help assess the financial viability of their school meal program under CEP.

Districts interested in participating in the CEP should complete the CEP SFA Participation Form for 2014 2015, and the CEP Eligibility Worksheet.

Districts/schools that have elected to participate in CEP for at least one site must notify households of children attending the CEP school(s) of CEP participation in the 2014-2015 school year.  LEAs may use this Sample Household Letter to serve as the required notification.

This E-rate document explains the process for schools to determine the data to use in applying for discounts on services received under the E-rate Program.

USDOE has issued guidance on Title 1 Part A. and CEP 

Healthy Snacks & Beverages

USDA recently published practical, science-based nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold to children at school during the school day.  As of July 1, 2014, these standards allow schools to offer healthier snack foods to children, while limiting less nutritious foods.

Here is our Healthy Snacks & Beverages information. 

Here you’ll find any upcoming trainings, videos available for viewing, and links to helpful training resources.

The National Food Service Institute has a wealth of training and technical assistance resources.  It is supported by USDA.

USDA's Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.

Welcome to the National School Lunch Program Regulations & Guidance section. The purpose of this section is to clarify the rules and regulations in the administration of this Program:

RIDE Issued Memos & Guidance

Coming Soon.

USDA Issued Policy Memos

For the most current policy memos and updates, please visit USDA's School Meals Program Policy page at...

RI Legislation

RI Requirements

USDA Nutrition Programs are designed to improve the health and well-being of children and adults. Here is additional information on nutrition and wellness.

Read more on RI Nutrition Requirements [PDF, 31KB]

Wellness and the National School Lunch Program

Local wellness policies are an important tool for parents, schools and Sponsor in promoting student wellness, preventing and reducing childhood obesity, and providing assurance that school meal nutrition guidelines meet the minimum federal school meal standards.

Each local Sponsor (district, charter school, indepndent schools, RCCI's) that participate in the National School Lunch Program or other federal Child Nutrition programs are required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction.

Additional school wellness resources:

Welcome to the National School Lunch Program Documents, Resources and Helpful Links. This section includes RIDE issued documents, and additional resource, document and links from a variety of sources related to this USDA Program.

 Meal Benefit and Eligibility Information

 

The Reimbursement and Claims section provides information on USDA reimbursement rates, and RIDE's CNP Connect secure claims processing and management system.

USDA Reimbursement Rates

USDA reimbursement rates are updated on a yearly basis. Here are the current reimbursement rates.

USDA Donated Foods Program (Commodities)

The USDA's Schools/Child Nutrition Programs support American agricultural producers by providing cash reimbursements for meals served in schools, but also by providing nutritious, USDA-purchased food to the following nutrition programs:

  • National School Lunch Program;
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program; and the
  • Summer Food Service Program

For additional information:

 

CNP Connect Claims & Management System

CNP Connect includes a secure section for processing meal claims. For additional information on filing meal claims, go to the My CNPConnect site.

This section provides local and national data on the National School Lunch Program, and information about fiscal aspects of the Program.

Breakfast State Match

Here is data on the allocation and distribution of RI state funds meant to support public schools providing breakfast meals to students.

2013 RIDE State Breakfast Funds Allocation [XLS, 41KB]

USDA Donated Food Entitlement

The USDA's Schools/Child Nutrition Programs support American agricultural producers by providing cash reimbursements for meals served in schools, but also by providing nutritious, USDA-purchased food to the following nutrition programs:

  • National School Lunch Program;
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program; and the
  • Summer Food Service Program

For additional information:

Breakfast Participation

The Annual RI Kids Count's Fact Book includes analysis of breakfast participation in the USDA School Breakfast Program.

USDA Program Finance and Participation Data

FNS Program Data