The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

SNAP Coalition Zoom Call Tues 5/12; DESE Newsletter to School Districts re P-EBT

This is a reminder of our weekly SNAP Coalition ZOOM call tomorrow, May 12th from 10 to 11:30 AM.  Zoom call info below. 

1. The SNAP Coalition AGENDA will include:

·         National update - from the Food Research and Action Center re next C-4 package in Congress. Remember to fill out our Google Form with client stories that can the MA Delegation move our top SNAP priorities!

·         State/DTA update  - on SNAP applications; next phase of P-EBT roll out; review of how unemployment impacts SNAP, DTA’s recent client communications improvements 

·         Engaging school districts on P-EBT - reminder that families can continue to apply for SNAP or National School Lunch program benefits to then qualify for P-EBT.  (See DESE eblast below)

·         Community org updates – Please plan to share what are you hearing from your constituents on SNAP application processing, how quickly they are receiving new EBT cards (we know the USPS is also delayed), challenges they face food shopping/using P-EBT during pandemic and other issues you are seeing. 

 

2. Updated SNAP COVID-19 materials with more translations:

We’ve added more translations for our FAQ: Extra Emergency SNAP Benefits.  These extra SNAP benefits started in March and continue to be issued each month to households not already getting the maximum grant. Extra emergency SNAP will continue each month until the end of the public health emergency. Please see this flier for more information, also posted in Spanish PortugueseChinese, and Haitian Creole

Also keep checking MLRI’s COVID-19 SNAP Google Doc for regular updates on DTA SNAP policies. 

3. DESE encourages MA school districts to continue to take NSLP applications for newly poor households: 

See DESE’s “Making It Count” newsletter with updates for school districts that includes encouraging them to continue to help families either enroll in SNAP benefits or apply for free/reduced-price meals in order to qualify for P-EBT (see yellow highlight).  

For a DRAFT list of non-CEP school districts with online NSLP applications, see MLRI’s Excel spreadsheet here.  Please email Beth Capstick if you have updates/corrections: ecaptstick@mlri.org   We are trying to track school districts that might benefit from having an online NSLP application portal. 

 
 
 
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: DESE: National School Lunch Program <nutrition@doe.mass.edu>
Date: Mon, May 11, 2020 at 8:21 AM
Subject: DESE's MIC Newsletter COVID 19 - Weekly Update 5/11
To: Patrica <pbaker@mlri.org>
 
A message from the
Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

May 11, 2020
View this email in your browser
School Lunch Hero Spotlight: Southbridge Public Schools
To continue the School Lunch Hero Day Celebration we want to give feature staff doing exemplary work every day, Maria Mouratoglou from Southbridge Public Schools is pictured here plating pulled pork, Spanish rice, corn, and green beans. You can see the care and attention she has put into plate presentation and portioning this delicious looking dish. Congratulations to the entire Southbridge team for being everyday School Lunch Heros!

Rob's Latest and Greatest: 


I really enjoyed seeing everyone on the virtual School Lunch Hero Day Celebration last Friday. What a way to come together, acknowledge and celebrate all we have accomplished during this pandemic. It was uplifting and touching to see all the pictures and videos submitted by districts, partners, administrators, and elected officials. We are working on a shorter version that can be posted on websites and will share that as soon as it is ready! I am so proud of the work being done across the state to feed our students. Lettuce keep up the good work!
Please stay healthy,
Robert M Leshin
 
The 2020 Census is underway and the most important and safe thing you can do is respond online, by phone, or by mail. It has never been easier to respond to the 2020 Census. SFA's are being asked to share information with households through their meal delivery, in order to spread the word. See electronic copies of the flyers geared at Massachusetts Families below: Count Us AllEvery 10 YearsToll-Free Language Line
 

FREE COVID-19 promotional signage is available!

Sandwich boards, lawn signs, posters, banners, and NEW flyers are still available for school districts and community sponsors serving meals to kids and teens while schools are closed. To order your signage, please fill out this short formPlease reach out to cnop@projectbread.org with any questions!

Have you completed your SY 2020-2021 procurement process?  

For the many districts who are serving meals during the pandemic, school year 2020/2021 (SY20/21) may feel like a low priority under normal circumstances, all SY20-21 procurements would actually be well underway.  Most SFAs award formal procurements on an annual basis and the vendor must be ready to provide the goods or services on July 1st. If you back out the time to complete the contract and evaluate submissions, in addition to the 4-6 weeks the vendor is given to respond after solicitation release, your solicitation should be ready for release now.

Emergency Procurement:
For SFAs/Collaboratives that are unable to complete the Procurement Process prior to SY19-20 contracts expiring, non-competitive procurements (emergency procurements) are an option.  Remember, Noncompetitive Procurements/ Emergency Procurements should be short term and not used in place of a formal procurement. In other words, you can’t do an emergency procurement of goods and services meant to be provided over the entire ‘20-‘21 school year. 

Extending Current Contracts:
Many SFAs/Collaboratives may choose to simply extend their current vendor contract(s). This could be done to allow the SFA/Collaborative the time to complete the normal formal procurement process. This would involve creating an addendum to the current contract, extending it for a few months. The addendum should identify that the extension is due to the COVID-19 Pandemic to cover the SFAs product and services requirements while awaiting the completion of the award for SY20-21. In that scenario, the SFA/Collaborative should execute a formal procurement for SY20-21 as soon as is practicable. 

For more information about SY 20/21 Procurement refer to April 23, 2020 memorandum: Procurement for School Year 2020-2021 and contact: contact either Pete McLoughlinPhilip Frehill, or Mark O’Leary.

Pandemic-EBT Resources for Families

The Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) at Project Bread has created a webpage containing information and resources on school closure meals.  The webpage also includes information about Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT). The P-EBT resources were specifically created for schools and include an FAQ, P-EBT flyer for families, template emails to send to families and promotional tools. You can view the resources here: https://meals4kids.org/COVID19

Families can qualify for P-EBT by completing a School Year 2019-2020 household school meal application. Even though school meals are currently free for all kids and teens through temporary USDA school closure waivers, a household school meal application approved right now does ensure continuation of school meal benefits during the 30-day carryover period next school year. The approved school meal application also makes the household immediately eligible for P-EBT benefits. Therefore, DESE encourages school districts to approve School Year 2019-2020 household school meal applications received expeditiously and include those students in subsequent P-EBT student data submissions to DESE.

 

Food Service Management Company (FSMC) Waiver Now Available!

SFAs with existing FSMC contracts that would not otherwise be eligible for extension through SY 2020-2021 or June 30, 2021 can apply for a waiver to use emergency noncompetitive procurement to negotiate a one-year FSMC extension or new contract for SY 2020-2021.

In order to apply for this waiver you will need to:
If you have any questions please contact Bridget Ziniti
 

Directors Ask, DESE Answers 


Q: How long can I procure goods/services under the emergency provision?
A: There is no specific timeframe but is intended to cover only the period of the emergency. The expectation is to formally procure as soon as practicable.
 
Q: Can I host a live webinar presenting the bid opening and allowing questions?
A: While not ideal, a live webinar for the bid-opening is allowable during the COVID-19 crisis. The SFA would determine if this is an acceptable option. It’s important to keep in mind that an in-person bid opening is the ideal option for vendors to gain the best understanding of the program.

Q: If we need to extend an SY19/20 contract to cover the emergency while we complete a formal procurement process does the vendor have to maintain current pricing?
A: Some contracts cover the potential for an extension and define the terms; if pricing was covered and whether it would remain the same or increase. If the contract does not address an extension and terms, the vendor is not obligated to extend the contract, nor honor current prices.  You would need to work with your current vendor and negotiate an agreement for this timeframe.  Keep in mind, extending your current contract(s) is only one option, you can also solicit quotes from other vendors. 
 
 

Milk Donation Distribution Survey for Schools

New England Dairy is looking for every opportunity to get dairy foods into the hands of those who need it and we need your help to understand the opportunities to distribute dairy in your area. 

As many of you know, there is an excess of milk in the market due to the decrease in food service sales and exports. The excess milk has decreased the price paid to dairy farmers for their milk and overwhelmed processors capacity to process and bottle milk.  This has sadly resulted in some farmers needing to dispose of their milk before it even leaves the farm. At the same time unemployment has risen and more families need emergency food assistance than ever before.

Please take a few minutes to respond to this survey so New England Dairy and Food Council can best work with thier partners to help our regional dairy farmers and families.  Deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020. Thank you!

 

Notable Dates:

May
  • 1st Run Direct Certification
  • 15th Submit USDA Foods Order
June
  • 1st Run Direct Certification
  • 15th LEA's must submit the CEP Identified Student Percentage (APR) report
 
 

Training Opportunities:

May
  • None Currently Scheduled
June
  • None Currently Scheduled
 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 
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