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Lincoln – Just as families are gearing up for the start of school, the Department of Health and Human Services this week also is preparing orders to make monthly deliveries of more than 4,900 tons of food to about 425 Nebraska schools and child care programs through its Food Distribution Program.
DHHS’ Children and Family Division distributes U.S. Department of Agriculture foods donated to schools and child cares across the state. U.S.D.A. supports domestic agriculture by purchasing surplus commodities, and provides it in support of the agency’s child nutrition programs.
“As the distributors of U.S.D.A. food to our state’s young people, we’re glad to coordinate deliveries so our students receive nutritionally rich foods to help them excel at school,” said DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips. “Along with our support of Nebraska citizens through other programs, the Food Distribution Program complements our mission to help people live better lives.”
Students will be glad to note that their three favorites – cups of strawberry, applesauce and diced peaches – once again will be available this year. Favorite main course meals like whole grain breaded chicken nuggets and patties also will be served. New additions to the menu will be pulled pork and tuna.
In all, DHHS offers 160 different U.S.D.A.-donated foods. Last school year, DHHS distributed 374,581 cases of American grown or produced food worth more than $10 million to Nebraska schools and child cares. The no-cost food comprises 15-20 percent of the food they will serve.
Besides those savings, DHHS applied for and received funds from U.S.D.A.’s State Administrative Expenses for Child Nutrition to pay nearly all transportation and warehousing costs, saving schools and child care programs more than $1 million. The Food and Distribution Program contracts for warehouse and delivery services and pays the contractor with the funds.
Additional savings will be achieved with DHHS coordinating the direct shipment of about 80,000 cases of U.S.D.A. food to larger school districts. That move will avoid state transportation and warehousing costs, and savings are expected to exceed $300,000.