The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Child Nutrition Unit (CNU) has received the following instructions for disaster feeding of children and adults. These instructions are based on information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Arkansas Office of Emergency Management (AOEM).
A. LOCAL DECISION
1. Each school district or local education agency is responsible for making the decision to provide emergency disaster feeding for displaced victims of the Katrina hurricane and flooding.
2. School districts should ensure that funds from the non-profit food service account will not be depleted in providing disaster feeding. Appropriate documentation is required for reimbursement of meals served to children. USDA will NOT reimburse meals served to adults.
3. Once the district has made the decision to provide disaster feeding, the superintendent must notify the Child Nutrition Unit. When the district transitions to end this disaster feeding, the district needs to notify CNU of this date.
B. FEEDING PRESCHOOL-HIGH SCHOOL CHILDREN
1. REGULAR SCHOOL BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHES
Following are the circumstances under which displaced children, preschool through high school age, can be fed FREE school breakfasts/lunches and claimed on the ADE reimbursement claims:
a. Households certified for emergency food stamps are automatically eligible for free school meals.
b. When there are large numbers of homeless families and children because of property loss or damage, school officials may keep a list to document free meal eligibility, in lieu of individual applications (this is current policy for homeless children).
c. In cases where a household from a designated disaster area moves in with another household the displaced individuals may be considered homeless and consequently automatically eligible for free meals. However, the host family would have to provide a revised application (and can include those displaced by the disaster as long as any income provided to the host family is also included on the application) in order to be eligible for free or reduced price meal benefits.
d. For those areas not immediately affected by the hurricane, but which have individuals displaced by the disaster, if a free and reduced price meal application cannot be obtained from the household, school officials may complete the application on behalf of the child based on the best available knowledge of the household's economic circumstances.
2.CHILDREN EVENING MEALS AND WEEKENDS
USDA feeding programs in public schools CANNOT REIMBURSE children's meals served in the EVENING OR on WEEKENDS.
C.PROCEDURES FOR SERVING ADULTS
1.REGULAR ADULT SCHOOL BREAKFASTS/LUNCHES/EVENING/WEEKEND MEALS
a. Contact the County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to check, if there are Red Cross facilities that will feed adults. If there are no Red Cross feeding facilities, the school district will need to be declared a disaster feeding site for adults in order to be eligible to feed displaced adults and receive reimbursement from FEMA.
b. Once the school district is declared an adult emergency feeding site by the County OEP, the food service department must keep track of all costs of feeding the adults. The district will be required to supply documentation of the number of meals served to adults by date and time, meal costs, etc.
c. Contact the AR Department of Health and Human Services Commodity office for procedures to account for utilization of commodities used in feeding in order to possibly receive additional commodities to replace those used.
2.ADULT AND CHILDREN EVENING MEALS AND WEEKENDS
If the school district serving site is declared a disaster feeding site for evenings and weekends by the County OEM, then adult and children meals will follow the same procedures as outlined above in 1. (a) and (b).
D. NOTIFICATION OF CNU
1. Once the district has made the decision to provide disaster feeding, the superintendent must notify the Child Nutrition Unit in writing.
Notification will include:
a. Beginning date of disaster feeding.
b. The type of meals (breakfast/lunch) to be served.
c. Reimbursable meals (Preschool through high schools) by CNU ADE
d. Adult Breakfast and Lunch or Evening and weekend meals to be reimbursed by FEMA or another source of funding.
2. When the district ends the disaster feeding, the district needs to notify CNU of this date. This information is needed in order to authorize the override of reimbursement claim edits.
DISASTER FEEDING IN SCHOOLS: Wanda Shockey or Barbara Smith at 501 324-9502
HOMELESS CHILDREN: Susan Underwood at 501-682-4847
ARKANSAS COMMAND CENTER FOR EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT at 501-730-9750