New USDA snack regulations put damper on lunch fundraisers

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Alexis Riga

Juniors Justice Taylor and Timothy McClusky enjoy free meals during the school day.

Alexis Riga, Editor-in-chief & staff writer

Except on limited occasions, students will no longer be able to purchase suckers for prom fundraisers, root beer floats for Madrigal trips or NHS candy bars during the school day thanks to new USDA Smart Snacks in School standards. These rules also apply to the snack bar – no more ice cream.

Regulations on selling candies and snacks during the school day have changed this year.

The new regulations state that all food and beverages sold at the school must comply with the new Smart Snacks rules, which includes food sold on the school campus during the school day outside the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The school day is defined as midnight before until 30 minutes after the school day ends.

“The rules do not apply to celebrations, holiday parties etc. as long as there is no exchange of money or things of value. Clubs and other fundraisers are permitted during non-school hours, weekends, or off-campus events. There are some exceptions, but they are limited in number and duration. Fund raisers are allowed and not restricted as long as they meet the Smart Snacks standards.  This is just a sample of the new rules, and they are being modified from year to year,” said Brad Spencer, district food services director.

New Smart Snack standards call for food being sold to meet the nutrition standards.

The good news, however, is that breakfast and lunch are now provided for free to all students, faculty and staff.

The District is now participating in a program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which offers students with free breakfast and lunch. Qualifications for the program are based on a district’s Direct Certification Free Lunch Percentage.

Although students receive free lunch, the snack bar is still available for students wanting to purchase food. Also, extra meals and milk continue to cost extra.

“I would still rather pay for snackbar this year because I prefer their food over the school lunch,” freshmen Jagger Stevenson said.

The CEP program has had an impact on the staff, students and parents of the Warsaw R-IX School District.

“I believe the new free lunch program is and will continue to make an impact on the entire school.  First it has reduced the financial stress on a number of parents and is a nice perk for the staff.  I feel we are offering good healthy meals and hopefully building good eating habit that will last a lifetime,” Spencer said.