In accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Nutrition Services policy memorandum, SP 15-2018, CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 05-2018 – Child Nutrition Program Waiver Request Guidance and Protocol-Revised, May 24, 2018, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Inc is seeking two waivers of statutory and/or regulatory program requirements that were recently rescinded. Two waiver requests will be submitted to the USDA for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAM STATE WAIVER REQUEST

1. State agency submitting waiver request and responsible State agency staff contact information:
Sponsor: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
331 Great Circle Rd, Nashville, TN 37228
Whitney Cowles, Director, Nutrition & Program Assurance
615-329-3491 | Email Whitney Cowles

2. Region: Southeast

3. Eligible service providers participating in waiver and affirmation that they are in good standing: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Inc. – Sponsor in good standing

4. Description of the challenge the State agency is seeking to solve, the goal of the waiver to improve services under the Program, and the expected outcomes if the waiver is granted. [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(iii) and 12(l)(2)(A)(iv) of the NSLA]: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee sponsored 32 SFSP program sites in six Middle and West Tennessee counties in Summer 2018. Second Harvest’s main warehouse and administrative offices are located in Davidson County in Nashville, Tennessee. However, our service area spans all of middle and a portion of West Tennessee, and many of our SFSP sites are located far from our main facility. In our furthest areas, we had four SFSP sites in Sumner County (60 roundtrip miles from Second Harvest), one site in Macon County (124 roundtrip miles), four sites in Benton County (160 roundtrip miles), two sites in Wilson County (90 roundtrip miles) and one site in Houston County (154 roundtrip miles).

Many of our SFSP sites open on the same day, and Second Harvest will not have enough SFSP monitors to visit all sites, including returning sites in good standing, in the first week. In 2018, the majority of SFSP sites opened on May 29 (9 sites) or on June 4-5 (16 sites).

Requiring first week visits for returning sites in good standing increases administrative burden and cost. It creates a hardship for sponsors in rural communities. Given the number of sites opening at the same time and long travel times, Second Harvest would have to delay SFSP start dates to meet this requirement. This will result in fewer SFSP meals being served, and children in participating programs not receiving much needed SFSP meals.

If the waiver is granted, all SFSP sites will be able to begin serving meals on their first date of programming. Second Harvest Monitor Staff will focus their first week visits on new SFSP programs to ensure they are open and operating effectively. We will not be faced with the burden of hiring additional SFSP monitors, which would significantly increase program costs. We will provide a program review to each SFSP site in the first 30 days of operation.

5. Specific Program requirements to be waived (include statutory and regulatory citations). [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(i) of the NSLA]: SFSP 12-2011, Waiver of Site Monitoring Requirements in the Summer Food Service Program, April 5, 2011 – Waived regulatory requirement at 7 CFR 225.15(d) for sponsors to conduct site visits during the first week of program operations for returning sites that operated successfully during the previous summer and had no serious deficiency findings.

6. Detailed description of alternative procedures and anticipated impact on Program operations, including technology, State systems, and monitoring: Attachment A SP 15-2018, CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 05-2018 Second Harvest SFSP Monitors will visit all new SFSP sites the first week of operations. We did not have any sites with serious deficiency findings in summer 2018. First week visits will be waived for returning SFSP sites in good standing as has been done in previous years under the waiver. Second Harvest staff will monitor all SFSP sites within their thirty days of operations and will maintain a reasonable level of site monitoring, including any required follow-up reviews. There should be no impact on State systems or technology.

7. Description of any steps the State has taken to address regulatory barriers at the State level. [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(ii) of the NSLA]: None

8. Anticipated challenges State or eligible service providers may face with the waiver implementation: There are no anticipated challenges with the implementation of this waiver. Second Harvest has internal processes and procedures in place to ensure SFSP program integrity.

9. Description of how the waiver will not increase the overall cost of the Program to the Federal Government. If there are anticipated increases, confirm that the costs will be paid from non-Federal funds. [Section 12(l)(1)(A)(iii) of the NSLA]: There is no anticipated increase on Federal administrative costs because Second Harvest will incur decreased Administrative Staff Costs for monitoring time as well as mileage driven for monitor visits.

10. Anticipated waiver implementation date and time period: May 15, 2019 for a period of 5 years

11. Proposed monitoring and review procedures: Second Harvest SFSP Monitors will visit all new SFSP sites the first week of operations. We did not have any sites with serious deficiency findings in summer 2018; if we had, we would also visit those sites in the first week of operations. First week visits will be waived for returning SFSP sites in good standing. Second Harvest staff will monitor all SFSP sites within their thirty days of operations and will maintain a reasonable level of site monitoring, including any required follow-up reviews.

12. Proposed reporting requirements (include type of data and due date(s) to FNS): Second Harvest can provide copies of all SFSP First Week visit forms as well as SFSP Monitor Forms to the State of Tennessee DHS at any time during or after the SFSP program in 2019 and for the following five years.

CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAM STATE WAIVER REQUEST

1. State agency submitting waiver request and responsible State agency staff contact information:
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
331 Great Circle Rd, Nashville, TN 37228
Whitney Cowles, Director, Nutrition & Program Assurance
615-329-3491 | Email Whitney Cowles

2. Region: Southeast

3. Eligible service providers participating in waiver and affirmation that they are in good standing: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Inc. – Sponsor in good standing

4. Description of the challenge the State agency is seeking to solve, the goal of the waiver to improve services under the Program, and the expected outcomes if the waiver is granted. [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(iii) and 12(l)(2)(A)(iv) of the NSLA]: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is requesting a waiver for Summer Food Service Program flexibilities and policies that were rescinded by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) on October 11, 2018 through SFSP 01-2019 Summer Food Service Program Memoranda Rescission. The impact and challenges faced as a result of the rescinded policies to Second Harvest and the sites we sponsor are detailed below:

Second Harvest sponsored 14 SFSP closed-enrolled sites that utilized area eligibility in 2018. Second Harvest’s closed-enrolled sites are unable to open to the public due to building capacity, staff capacity for managing the programs and meal service, and safety. Requiring Second Harvest to process individual household income applications increases the administrative burden and will result in our organization sponsoring fewer SFSP sites.

Area eligibility allows a streamlined application process for families enrolling children in summer programming as well as for Second Harvest, our program sites, and Tennessee DHS. Learning to correctly process income eligibility forms with the complex situations that can arise would cause an increase in the training time and effort needed during the application process. Area eligibility is good for 5 years, however qualifying based on income applications is only good for one year. This change will result in a significant time and administrative burden to our program.

Area eligibility shows that summer meals are served to children living in an area of economic need and at-risk of food insecurity in much the same way as meals served at open sites. Utilizing area eligibility streamlines SFSP with CACFP At Risk Afterschool programs that successfully utilize area eligibility. Permitting this flexibility will not undermine or diminish SFSP program intent.

Allowing Second Harvest to establish SFSP site eligibility using area eligibility reduces any fear or hesitancy for parents that can arise with the income eligibility form. For most sites the additional paperwork required with the income eligibility form will be a barrier to participation in SFSP. We expect that most of these sites will discontinue SFSP participation.

The goal of this waiver is to reinstate the rescinded flexibilities and policies to allow for efficient and cost-effective program management and reduce administrative burden for Second Harvest and our sponsored sites. Approval of this waiver will allow Second Harvest Food Bank to continue using area eligibility for closed enrolled sites to qualify for the SFSP program.

5. Specific Program requirements to be waived (include statutory and regulatory citations). [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(i) of the NSLA]: Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Waiver for Closed Enrolled Sites, November 17, 2002 – Extended area eligibility to closed enrolled sites. This waived the statutory provision of Section 13(a)(1)(A)(i)(III) of the NSLA, 42 USC 1761(a)(1)(A)(i)(III), and the regulatory definition of closed enrolled sites, which required eligibility determinations to be made by submitting applications in accordance with 7 CFR 225.15(f). Under this waiver, closed enrolled sites could be determined eligible if located in areas where 50 percent of the children residing in the area are eligible for free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

6. Detailed description of alternative procedures and anticipated impact on Program operations, including technology, State systems, and monitoring: Attachment A SP 15-2018, CACFP 12-2018, SFSP 05-2018
Alternative Procedures: Area eligibility will be extended to closed enrolled SFSP sites. Closed enrolled sites will be determined eligible for SFSP if they are located in areas where at least 50 percent of the children residing in the area are eligible for free and reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Site eligibility documentation including percentage of children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals will be obtained during the SFSP application process and kept by Second Harvest for five years. This documentation will be checked prior to SFSP application submission and provided during administrative reviews.
Anticipated Impact: This waiver will significantly decrease the SFSP administrative burden, allow for efficient oversight of the program, and allow Second Harvest and our program sites to meet the needs of our food insecure communities and children. No change will need to be made to current technology systems because of this waiver.

7. Description of any steps the State has taken to address regulatory barriers at the State level. [Section 12(l)(2)(A)(ii) of the NSLA]: None

8. Anticipated challenges State or eligible service providers may face with the waiver implementation: We do not anticipate any challenges with waiver implementation.

9. Description of how the waiver will not increase the overall cost of the Program to the Federal Government. If there are anticipated increases, confirm that the costs will be paid from non-Federal funds. [Section 12(l)(1)(A)(iii) of the NSLA]: There will be no increase in SFSP administrative costs for with implementation of this wavier. Conversely, we anticipate decreased administrative costs using area eligibility as opposed to reviewing hundreds of income eligibility forms at our Sponsor level, as well as at the State level during administrative reviews.

10. Anticipated waiver implementation date and time period: May 15, 2019 for a period of 5 years

11. Proposed monitoring and review procedures: Second Harvest Food Bank will continue to monitor SFSP sites using approved visit and program review procedures. If we identify any noncompliance, we will implement a corrective action plan and provide follow-up reviews.

12. Proposed reporting requirements (include type of data and due date(s) to FNS):
Second Harvest will provide the name, location of and number of closed enrolled sites, number of anticipated participants, and the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Data from the School Nutrition Program in our SFSP application, which will be submitted by April 30 of each year.

 
 
 
 

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