The Department of Health and Human Services will ship more than 4,900 tons of food to approximately 425 Nebraska schools and child care centers.
Matt Wallen, Director for the Division of Children and Family Services for DHHS, says the Food Distribution Program is a win-win that benefits both kids and America’s farmers.
Wallen explains the way it works is the USDA purchases surplus food from farmers and then DHHS helps distribute it to schools and child care centers throughout the state.
He says they currently send out 160 different foods. Over the past few years, Wallen says DHHS has received feedback about the different foods so they know what the kids’ favorites are.
"And what we are hearing the kids favorites are are cups of strawberries, applesauce, diced peaches. For main dishes, it’s whole breaded chicken nuggets and some patties. So the kids like the food and it helps US ag and all that good stuff.”
Wallen says new additions to the menu will include pulled pork and tuna.
He says deliveries occur throughout the school year with DHHS coordinating the warehousing, delivery and distribution of the food. Wallen says these costs are covered by a grant from the USDA.
The no-cost food comprises about 15-20 percent of the food these schools and centers will serve.