Video: Matthew Essner Chats About His Role on SNA’s Child Nutrition Task Force

In this post, we introduce you to Director of Nutrition Sales Matthew Essner and discuss his appointment on SNA’s Child Nutrition Task Force.

Matthew Essner

We would like to introduce you to Matthew Essner, the Director of Nutrition Services for LINQ. In addition to his role here, Essner is a member of the SNA Child Nutrition Task Force on the Administrative Review and Indirect Costs Subcommittee.

“I was excited when I got appointed because I think there there’s a lot that can be done legislatively,” Essner said. “So, if we, as a task force, make good recommendations that actually are applicable, then I think that we could see some, hopefully some positive change for our districts and States who administer these programs.”

As a member of the sub-committee, Essner will lend his expertise and deep roots in child nutrition to the task force. The group is responsible for outlining positive changes to the Happy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA). For those who don’t know, let’s take a quick dive into HHFKA.

What is the Happy, Hunger-Free Kids Act?

Very simply, HHFKA is legislation that authorizes funding and sets policies for the core USDA child nutrition programs.

HHFKA became law in 2010, and the original law remains intact. Yet, much has changed in the past decade. That’s where SNA’s Child Nutrition Task Force Comes in. Now that you know more about HHFKA, let’s take a closer look at how this task force will help reauthorize one of the most important laws in child nutrition.

What does the SNA Child Nutrition Task Force do?

This task force was created out of one, giant opportunity: the new Administration and new Congress indicated Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) would be a big focus in 2021. With a greater chance to make changes, SNA is bringing together Association members to cull HHFKA and make recommendations based on current child nutrition needs.

The SNA Child Nutrition Task Force has five sub-committees:

  1. Preserve School Meals Flexibilities Final Rule & Universal Meals
  2. Unpaid Meal Charges, Food Waste & Time to Eat 
  3. Smart Snacks & Nutrition Education 
  4. Paid Lunch Equity & Uniform Application 
  5. Administrative Reviews & Indirect Costs

On the Administrative Reviews and Indirect Costs sub-committee, Essner and the other appointees intend to look for ways to streamline administrative tasks. Nutrition Directors are often burdened by a significant amount of paperwork. While all of it is necessary for their programs, filling it out is often cumbersome and time-consuming.

Essner explained why simplifying administrative workload would make a big impact.

“I hope to see simplified administration,” Essner said. “These school districts fill out so many reports for so many different agencies. We don’t want the integrity of the programs to go down, but make this a smoother process.”

We’re so proud of Matthew! There is no doubt he will help to create the positive changes our school nutrition programs need now. We look forward to seeing all the good the task force accomplishes!

Want to know more about Matthew and the task force?

Watch the video below to learn about Matthew and hear more about his appointment! You’ll find out why he was chosen for the task force, what he hopes to accomplish with Congress, and even learn which is his favorite school lunch!

Want more LINQ employee spotlights?

Learn more about Carol Weekly, former school nutrition Operator and current President of Nutrition Services for LINQ.

Meet Carol!