Texas Rural School District Cohort Grant

Application due date: Friday, May 20, 2022

No Kid Hungry Texas, in partnership with the Texas Rural Education Association, is launching its’ second year of the Rural School District Cohort. This grant opportunity will provide funding to rural school districts in Texas to support their work to maximize federal child nutrition programs and other programs that ensure children and families have access to healthy meals in their community.

No Kid Hungry Texas knows that rural school districts play an essential role in ensuring students receive the nutritious meals they need to reach their fullest potential. This flexible granting opportunity will support the work of rural Texas school districts in their efforts to connect children and families with meals.

Grant recipients will also take part in a school-year-long cohort, which runs from August 2022 – May 2023, in which recipients will meet virtually bi-monthly (every other month) with other cohort members to share promising practices in feeding students in their community and collaborate and ideate on the unique challenges that come with rural childhood hunger.


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Application Requirements

No Kid Hungry Texas is committed to addressing the systemic and structural health, social, and economic inequities that disproportionally impact historically under-resourced communities. To ensure that we are supporting communities most impacted by these inequities, No Kid Hungry Texas is requiring that school districts meet the following requirements to apply:

  1. Have a student population that is made up of 50% or more non-white students, as determined by school district enrollment data.
  2. Be classified as a rural locale by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) as one of the following categories: rural-remote, rural-distant, rural-fringe, town-remote, or town-distant. Or, be classified as independent town, non-metropolitan stable, or rural by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Applicants can look up their school district and community’s rural locale using this link: https://tea.texas.gov/reports-and-data/school-data/district-type-data-search/district-type-2019-20
  3. Have a school district population where at least 40% of children at the district are eligible for free and or reduced priced school meals.

Applicants must meet the above criteria to be considered for funding. No Kid Hungry Texas will also be scoring applicants using the following rubric.

Through the Rural School District Cohort, No Kid Hungry Texas hopes to identify, document, and better understand promising practices in combatting rural childhood hunger and:

  1. Increase collaboration among rural communities as it relates to decreasing food insecurity
  2. Decrease food insecurity among children in rural communities by increasing participation in federal and community led child nutrition programs.
  3. Decrease stigma associated with accessing federal child nutrition programs and/or community food assistance resources.
  4. Increase community engagement to understand and address community needs related to child food insecurity
  5. Understand challenges in addressing food insecurity in rural communities.

Rural School District Cohort grantees agree to allow the district’s food service director to attend and participate in bi-monthly (every other month) one-hour virtual meetings with other cohort members during SY 22-23. These meetings will allow cohort members to collaborate with other food service directors across the state, sharing promising practices in feeding kids, discussing common challenges, and ideate ways to overcome these challenges. Additionally, these meetings will allow cohort members to receive technical assistance and resources from No Kid Hungry as needed. Meetings will be facilitated by No Kid Hungry Texas staff. The first cohort meeting will be held in late August or early September.

Cohort members will also be required to submit quarterly grant reports. These reports include information on the school district’s meal participation and can be completed with support from No Kid Hungry Texas staff. To view a sample report, click here.

If you are selected to participate in the Rural School District Cohort, your school district will receive a grant of $30,000 to be used towards your child nutrition program(s) or community nutrition program(s). As part of your application, we ask that your total budget equals the full $30,000, which can be used to leverage a variety of strategies to increase meals served in your school district and support kids and families in your community.

Examples of how funding can be used include, but are not limited to:

  1. Meal service supplies and equipment to implement new models for serving breakfast and afterschool meals that could increase participation and/or improve meal quality in federal nutrition programs such as blenders for a smoothie bar, breakfast carts, hot/cold bags, etc.
  2. Marketing costs associated with promoting awareness of meal availability to students and families and/or promoting SNAP, WIC, and/or Pandemic-EBT in your community.
  3. Food costs associated with providing meals during weekends and out of school time through backpack programs and school pantries.
  4. Hiring additional staff positions and/or increasing hours for existing staff to meet increased demand.
  5. Transportation costs associated with meal delivery such as refrigerated trucks and fuel.
  6. Additional expenses as needed

If you have an idea of what you would like to use the funds for and it is not listed above, feel free to reach out to Mia Medina (mmedina@strength.org) for clarity.

Application Instructions

1. Log into or create an account for the No Kid Hungry Grants Portal at https://nokidhungry.force.com. Please do not use internet explorer or Microsoft Edge when registering or working within the portal.

2. To create a new account, click “New User”

3. After you have logged into the No Kid Hungry Grants Portal, click “Start a New Application” on the home page.

4. Input the following access code to gain access to the application: TXCOHORT2022

5. Click “Start Application” to begin.

6. Be sure to input all required answers and save frequently as you as inputting information.

7. Once all questions are completed, click “Review Application”

8. Download your application as a PDF and then click “Submit.”

Testimonials from Past Grantees

“Our families and community members learned more about our meal programs and our services as well as were very grateful for the additional nutrition/meal/snack support during times of hunger and need. This grant came to us during a very difficult time for communities hit hard by the pandemic and the winter storm. The community of Sinton, at times, was a food desert as food supply trucks could not get materials to the area due to the pandemic or the winter storm or the vendors shipments were restricted and the resources brought in were not enough to supply the community at large.  It was during these times that our households expressed their deepest appreciation for the supplemental nutritious foods that we were able to provide via our partnership and participation in the NKH grant.” – Silke West at Sinton ISD

“I think it’s very important because if you’re in your own district, you don’t have any exposure to any other programs you don’t know what is possible and what can be expanded upon. You don’t know the possibilities because you haven’t seen it done.”

– Jonathan Lankford from Mexia ISD

“We bought insulated hot and cold bags because we were doing Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) at the elementary and junior high school. This was our first time doing this program and we are still operating BIC for all schools except high schools. It’s going really well! We’ve seen a huge increase in participation – about 90% of students are participating in breakfast.” – Marcena Martinez from Cotulla ISD


If you have questions about the program or the content of your application, please reach out to Mia Medina, No Kid Hungry Texas Program Manager at mmedina@strength.org.

If you have technical or portal-related questions or if you are having trouble accessing the application, please reach out to GrantsHelpDesk@strength.org.

More Resources for Rural School Districts