May 28, 2014

Key Senate Panel Includes Gillibrand, Schumer Measure to Provide $25 Million to Upgrade School Kitchens Across The Country

Gillibrand & Schumer Successfully Pushed for Federal Funds in Agriculture Appropriations Bill to Help Schools Provide Healthier, Quality Meals For Schoolchildren

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer today announced a $25 million school kitchen equipment measure was included in the Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee late last week. The funding would be allocated through a competitive grant program for schools across the country. Senators Gillibrand, Schumer and twelve of their colleagues urged funding for this program. The legislation now heads to the Senate floor.

“Every child needs breakfast and lunch, and many of our children receive these important meals at schools,” said Senator Gillibrand, New York’s first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “Ensuring our children have quality, nutritious food must be a priority, and this program will help achieve that in our schools. Our children need balanced meals every day to learn, grow and succeed.”

“Our kids deserve a healthy, nutritious lunch served in school cafeterias with the right equipment, and this bill would provide more funding for schools to upgrade their kitchens,” said Senator Schumer. “Our kids should be focused on learning and getting the most out of the classroom, and the best way to do that is to make sure they are getting nutritious school lunches.”

The measure pushed by Senator Gillibrand and Schumer would provide $25 million for school kitchen equipment grants. These equipment purchases would be for long-term investments that help schools serve healthier meals, improve food safety, expand access to nutrition programs and improve energy efficiency. Many schools have outdated kitchen equipment, and this funding will allow them to update their kitchens to comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recently updated standards for school kitchens. This would ensure better quality and service of nutritional meals for school children.

Senators Gillibrand and Schumer were joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Carl Levin (D-MI).

Full text of the letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee is attached.