These funds will aid in disruptions in the supply chain.

Earlier this month, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department of Agriculture will provide up to $1.5 billion to states and school districts to help school meal program operators deal with the challenges of supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic.

Over $17 million will be given to Mississippi school meal programs.

Secretary Vilsack said the food and funds USDA is distributing will help ensure schools have the resources they need to continue serving students quality food they can depend on, and to build a “stronger, fairer, and more competitive food system.”

“USDA’s school meal programs have a wide-reaching impact on the health and well-being of our nation’s children,” the Agriculture Secretary said. “Now, more than ever, America’s children need access to healthy and nutritious foods and our school nutrition professionals play a huge role in making that happen. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts have met extraordinary challenges to ensure that every child has the food needed to learn, grow and thrive.”

The Supply Chain Assistance Funds are expected to provide a boost in resources for up to 100,000 schools across all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Mississippi, $11,296,031 in Supply Chain Assistance funds are provided for schools to purchase food for their meal programs while $3,605,891 are to be used in order to purchase USDA Foods to distribute to schools and $2,259,206 for cooperative agreements to purchase local foods for schools, focusing on historically underused producers.