With Michelle Obama continuing her healthy school lunch movement, new school regulations with be rolling out this coming June. These new laws will require schools to provide students with healthy meals containing fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grain. The regulations will also revoke the federal funding from lunch program’s of school’s that fail to meet these nutritional requirements, and prohibit the sale of all foods that do not meet these nutritional requirements. Although these regulations are promoting healthy eating habits in schools, they will detrimentally affect the bank accounts of on-campus clubs that rely on non-nutritional food sales for sustenance.
School provided beverage requirements are milk (1%) low fat unflavored, non-dairy milks such as soy milk or rice milk, 100% fruit juice, and beverages that contain only water and fruit or vegetable juice according to the USDA Beverage guidelines. These are much healthier alternatives to sodas, soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup, and other sugar saturated beverages.
Schools are reimbursed by the Federal Government for Distributing these healthy lunches at a rate of $2.93 for free lunches (given to students who live at up to 185% of the poverty line, for a family of four; 185 percent is $43,568), $2.53 for reduced lunches, and $0.28 for paid lunches. Schools can also qualify for “severe need” reimbursements, which gives schools an extra financial reimbursement when 40% or more students receive free or reduced lunch.
Michelle Obama’s new regulations will keep the beverage and lunch policies intact, but will revoke these reimbursements from any schools who sell foods that do not comply with these guidelines. Schools that have frequent fundraisers that endorse the sale of non-nutritional foods will have their federal funding revoked , even if their in school cafeteria is following the nutritional funding guidelines. With “food fairs”, which are a main way for in school clubs to make money, occurring “frequently” (as defined by the USDA guidelines) at some sacramento schools, including John F. Kennedy High School, these new regulations will decrease club funds dramatically.
John F. Kennedy High School Chess Club grossed $500 from all four food fairs, in which clubs sell foods that do not comply with USDA food regulations, that happened in the past year. The new funding regulations will hinder the chess club’s tournament availability because it simply can’t afford to attend them. The John F. Kennedy High School Hmong Club will face similar losses.
“The profit Hmong Club gains from Food Fair is roughly 75% of what we fundraise throughout the school year,” says Paha Xiong, John F. Kennedy High School Hmong Club President. “We have over 20 students who attend annual trips and we would not be able to afford the trips if it weren’t for our school Food Fairs.”
These food regulations will benefit United States School districts health wise, but they will also hurt the pockets of on campus organizations that rely on the sale of healthy foods to produce funding.