INDIANAPOLIS – More help is on the way to support our local schools. $750 million from the USDA will help districts nationwide provide healthy meals to students.

It comes at a time when schools are having to change their menus day-by-day, because of supply shortages and higher food costs.

Child nutrition directors for both Wayne and Lawrence Townships agree they are relived that more help is on the way. Right now, to find paper products sometimes these districts are having to resort to buying off of Amazon, because there are no other options.

The USDA announced that it’s increasing school lunch reimbursement rates. At the start of this school year, the reimbursement rate was already 15 percent higher than the standard. Now, schools will receive an additional 25 cents per lunch. Taken together, districts will receive 22 percent more for school lunches, than they would normally.

Rolonda brown with MSD Lawrence Township tells me this is a huge deal. Vendors are making more money by selling to grocery stores so options for school districts are decreasing.

“We are literally getting price increases almost daily through our co-op, being notified that costs are going up and are we going to accept these – because they’re allowed to do that although we’re locked into a contract,” said Brown.

Brittany Jointer, the child nutrition director for MSD Wayne Township added, “When you think about food, we’re not getting chicken patties or chicken products in general are hard to come by now. Those are popular items for our students. Paper goods – that’s the key thing. You wouldn’t think about spork kits.”

According to the USDA, it’s given the state of Indiana more than $267 million to support pandemic operations and supply chain challenges. Click here for the breakdown of numbers.

Meanwhile, both child nutrition directors say, parents don’t have to worry. The students will be fed.

They just ask parents to be patient while menus continue to change.

“I’m going to give my students, they’re going to have something on their plate,” said Jointer.

Brown added, “We will feed your babies. Promise.”