Food Distribution Program (USDA Foods)


School Nutrition Programs | Program Guidance | Forms | Resources | Nutrition Education

The mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Distribution Program is to strengthen the nation’s nutrition safety net by providing food and nutrition assistance to school children and families; and support American agriculture by distributing high quality, 100 percent American-grown USDA Foods. In Connecticut, the USDA Food Distribution Program for school nutrition programs and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is administered through the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).

Schools and institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) receive USDA Foods, which are also known as “entitlement” foods. Each year, schools receive a Planned Assistance Level (PAL) based on the number of reimbursable lunches served in the previous school year (July 1 through June 30) multiplied by the federal per meal rate. The federal per meal rate for USDA Foods changes yearly and is published each July in the Federal Register. The current per meal rate for USDA Foods is included in the CSDE’s reimbursement rates memo for the current school year, which is available on the CSDE’s Reimbursement Rates for Child Nutrition Programs webpage.


Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)