SNA News

Hurricane Sandy Relief: How You Can Help

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November 6, 2012 – On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy swept up the East Coast, leaving destruction and despair in its path. In the days since the storm, the people of the United States have come together to provide support, resources and assistance to those in the hardest-hit areas.

SNA would like to extend our thoughts and best wishes to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, especially to those members directly impacted. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is already working to assist state agencies in meeting the nutrition assistance needs of FNS program participants in the impacted states. To learn more, click here.

If you would like to help those affected and are able to make a donation or volunteer your time, there are plenty of local and national organizations that need support. Here is a list of several organizations aiding in the relief efforts:

American Red Cross
The Red Cross has more than 5,000 disaster workers helping to provide food, water, shelter, clothes, supplies and blood, as needed, to the victims of Sandy. To donate, click here or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is focused on feeding and sheltering activities, as Sandy response continues. To donate, click here or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat, an international organization, helps those in need rebuild their homes after disaster strikes. To learn how you can volunteer in your community, click here. To make a donation, click here.

Feeding America
To date, Feeding America has provided 3.6 million meals to food banks supporting the relief efforts. To get involved with your local food bank, click here. To make a donation to Feeding America, click here.

Save the Children
Save the Children is focused on assisting the needs of children and families displaced by the hurricane. To make a donation, click here.

Community FoodBank of New Jersey
This group is currently distributing over 100,000 lbs of food daily to families displaced by Hurricane Sandy. To learn more, click here. To make a donation, click here.

New York Cares
This local NYC program is recruiting volunteers to help with Sandy relief efforts, and is also raising money. To learn more about their response efforts, click here. To make a donation, click here.

Catholic Charities USA
Relief services are provided at the local level by Catholic Charities agencies that provide critical services including emergency food, shelter, direct financial assistance, counseling and support. These services are provided regardless of religion, race, creed, or socio-economic status. To make a donation, click here.

As part of the hurricane response, AmeriCares provides emergency kits and medical supplies to those in crisis. To make a donation, click here.

Humane Society of the United States
In the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy, the Humane Society's Animal Rescue Team is assembling staff and equipment to help rescue pets. To learn how you can help, click here.

While helping with the relief efforts is important, scams often follow disasters. The Federal Trade Commission warns of scam “charity” appeals and fraudulent home repair offers. Visit the Charity Navigator website for tips for giving in a time of crisis and a list of charities. The above list is not meant to be comprehensive. If you know of additional organizations, volunteer opportunities or ways of helping, please leave a comment below.

It's Election Day: Vote in SNA’s Election

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November 6, 2012 – It's Election Day and polling places across the country are open for business! In addition to voting in Presidential and Congressional elections today, it’s also your opportunity to join your fellow SNA members in voting in SNA’s 2013-15 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee Representatives Election.

This year, the SNA Election features 22 candidates from around the country who share a common interest: a passion for child nutrition. By participating in the voting process, you are helping to select the candidates you think will make a difference in advancing the organization and its efforts to improve school nutrition programs nationwide. But with the “polls” only remaining open for one more week, it is critical that you cast your vote today! Don’t let your peers decide for you, choose to have your voice heard!

How to Vote
In order to vote, your SNA membership must have been valid and current as of May 31, 2012. You will NOT be eligible to vote if you became a member or reinstated your membership after this date. Members in the Affiliate, Other or Student membership category are not eligible to vote. The slate of candidates that you are eligible to vote for is based on your membership section and the SNA region you work in.

To cast your vote by November 15th, go to and click on “Vote Now.” You will be prompted to enter your SNA username and password. Once you have logged in, you will be directed to the voting site where you will then vote. Prompts will guide you through the online voting process, but to save time, please make all of your selections in advance.

The newly elected Board of Directors and Nominating Committee representatives will be announced in late November and officers will be installed in July 2013 at SNA’s Annual National Conference in Kansas City, Mo. For questions about the SNA Election, please contact the SNA Service Center at (800) 877-8822.

Related Links:

SNA Election

Printable SNA Election biographies

Printable Candidate Reference Guide

SN Vice President Candidate interviews

2013 FAME Award Winners Announced

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November 5, 2012 – Melanie Konarik, MS, SNS, RTSBA, Director of Child Nutrition, Spring Independent School District, Houston, Texas, has been named the 2013 Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year in the annual FAME (Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence) Awards competition. The FAME Awards have been honoring innovative school nutrition professionals and allies for the last 24 years.

The Golden School Foodservice Director demonstrates outstanding achievement in leadership, spirit/dedication, innovation, career awards, management systems, humanitarianism/community involvement and bettering the lives of students.

As this year’s Golden School Foodservice Director of the Year honoree, Konarik has nearly 30 years of experience leading her suburban Houston school nutrition program through a wide array of innovative changes. Her progressive approaches—and a passionate commitment to staff development—has earned Konarik many well-deserved honors; among these, her operation earned SNA’s first District of the Year award.

Konarik is a model mentor to her own staff, as well as colleagues in Texas and across the country. In addition, she continues to be a leading change agent for healthier school meals and successfully advocated for a universal free breakfast program throughout her district, as well as the elimination of the reduced-price charge at lunch. Other innovations range from a popular and effective nutrition education program for middle school students that involves feed “junk” food to rats to an early launch of a credit card payment system for families to a nine-month manager-in-training program.

Konarik has served in numerous volunteer positions at state and national level. She is the current Secretary/Treasurer on the SNA Board of Directors and a member of SNA’s Spokesperson Network.

Five other school nutrition professionals were lauded by the FAME selection panel, which included winners of the 2012 competition, as well as the editors of School Nutrition magazine and other trade publications and SNA President Sandra Ford, SNS.

The 2013 winner of the Silver Leadership Award is Lori Drenth, RD, SNS, director of food and nutrition services, Hernando County School District, Brooksville, Fla. This award recognizes a director who demonstrates outstanding leadership, dedication, fiscal achievement and innovation in menuing/merchandising.

FAME’s Silver Spirit Award is given to a person in a management position who demonstrates a commitment to the people and programs of child nutrition through the development and execution of innovative programs in marketing, training, customer service, and/or staff motivation. Amy Harkey, RD, SNS, child nutrition assistant director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Schools is being recognized for her efforts as the 2013 winner of this award.

The Silver Rising Star Award recognizes and encourages the next generation, honoring a director with three or fewer years’ experience. Jim Hemmen, executive chef and child nutrition services supervisor, Roosevelt School District, Phoenix, Ariz., has been named this year’s recipient.

FAME’s 2013 Silver Special Achievement Award winner is Robert Lewis, PhD, director of nutrition services, El Monte (Calif.) School District. This honor is bestowed on a director who shows innovation in districts with 10,000 or less student enrollment.

This year’s Silver Friend of Child Nutrition Award, which recognizes an outstanding supporter or advocate of school nutrition programs, is Gary Vonck, vice president, education division, KeyImpact Sales & Systems, Naperville, Ill., and the current Industry Representative to the SNA Board of Directors.

In addition, the third honoree of the Gertrude Applebaum Lifetime Achievement Award, selected exclusively by the FAME sponsors, is Frank Harris, now-retired after decades of service as child nutrition director for Norwalk (Conn.) Public Schools, but still a passionate advocate for universal school meals.

The 2013 FAME Awards are made possible with the generous support of Basic American Foods, Schwan’s Food Services, Inc., and Tyson Foods, Inc. The awards will be presented at an event on January 13, 2013 at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, in conjunction with SNA’s Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC).

Related Links

CNIC 2013


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