May 2014 In the News: Summer Meals, Mobile Delivery, Invite Katie Couric to School Lunch, and More!

chalkboard and newspaperThe school year is winding down across the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop talking about delicious, nutritious school lunch and breakfast. As we all know, “hunger doesn’t take a vacation,” which is why summer feeding has been dominating the headlines—and the hashtags—for the last few weeks. At the end of April, the USDA announced that it aims to increase meal participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) by between 10 and 15 million—are you adding students in your district(s) to those numbers? If so, check out “Vehicles of Change,” an article that recently appeared in SN Magazine’s April 2014 issue. Written by Beyond Breakfast blogger Christina Uticone, the article outlines how mobile delivery is changing the face of summer feeding, and offers successful strategies employed by your fellow school nutrition professionals, as well as non-profit organizations.

Speaking of mobile meals, you may have noticed that is in and of itself a hot topic in school nutrition at the moment. No Kid Hungry recently developed an amazing tool to help school nutrition professionals evaluate whether mobile feeding is right for their district. The No Kid Hungry Mobile Meals Calculator allows you to experiment with program variables—like number of meals served, number of vehicles, days of operation—to give you the information you need to determine whether mobile service is right for you.

You probably noticed earlier in May when Katie Couric appeared on Good Morning America and stated, “[f]ifty percent of school districts serve junk food for lunch, fast food for lunch. Kids are getting terrible choices.” It made quite a splash on social media, where Dayle Hayes from School Meals that Rock took the opportunity to champion an ongoing, open invitation to Couric to take part in school breakfast or lunch. Hayes’s goal? For Couric to see the delicious, healthy, often local fare that is becoming the norm in school cafeterias across the country. We sat down recently to chat with Dayle about how schools can use social media to take charge of their own school lunch story, and we love her six-part series, “Post It, Pin It, Tweet It, Eat It” that breaks down how to best use social media to your program’s advantage.

The deadline to apply for Fuel Up to Play 60 funds is rapidly approaching! Apply on or before Wednesday, June 4, 2014, to win funds to help improve healthy eating and physical activity at your school. The new Fuel Up to Play 60 Playbook has school breakfast and physical activity-oriented Plays that are student-led and school-tested with input from Program Advisors, health and wellness experts, and of course, students!

We always love to read about the new and creative ways schools find to help students connect more deeply with the personal aspects of health and nutrition. Students in New York State are creating murals inspired by their food; third-graders in four schools were able to create the murals as part of a project funded by ArtsWestchester—don’t miss the embedded video!

Kitchen equipment upgrades are another hot topic in the news, and districts from New York to Dallas and beyond are seeking the resources necessary to continue to improve the quality of school meals. You can find more information on school nutrition equipment upgrades here at Beyond Breakfast, including strategies to help you overcome barriers to acquiring much-needed upgrades in your school or district. Interested in putting together hard numbers to demonstrate that it’s time for equipment upgrades? Check out the resources available through the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project from The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Healthy School Foods Now.

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