Public and private schools as well as approved Residential Child Care Institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are eligible to receive food purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2012, commodities valued at over $20 million and totaling over 21 million pounds were allocated. Each month schools are in session, approximately 2 million pounds of USDA Foods are distributed by the food distribution section of Child Nutrition Services.
In Wyoming, 358 schools will receive USDA Food entitlement at the rate of $.2275 cents for each lunch served during the 13-14 school year. This entitlement can be utilized on a wide variety of foods which include; canned and frozen fruits in light syrup or pear juice, low sodium canned and frozen vegetables, canned beans, wheat flour, whole grain pasta, beef, chicken, pork, egg and cheese items. These USDA Foods represent 12-20 percent of the value of all foods purchased for the lunch program. All other food used in the NSLP is procured by the school or school district. In cooperation with the Department of Defense, schools can allocate part of their USDA entitlement funds for the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Food Distribution is funded through USDA State Administrative Expense (SAE) funds and a state-administered revolving fund. Schools are charged a fee to cover storage, handling, and shipping. They also reimburse the state account for processing costs of raw USDA processors who manufacture over 40 specific food items for NSLP.
Simplified Summer Food Program (SSFP) sponsors also receive USDA Foods based on 1.5 cents for each meal served.