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School Nutrition Explores Creative Approaches to New Meal Pattern Implementation

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November 7, 2012 – School meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs have undergone the first major update to federal nutrition standards in 15 years. Radical changes will be necessary to align school meals with the latest findings of nutrition science and ensure that schools are doing all they can in a commitment to raising a healthier generation of children. The November issue of School Nutrition, SNA’s award-winning flagship publication, examines what schools around the country are doing to successfully implement the new meal pattern regulation, as well as provides guidance on training front-line staff on the tools and information they need to ensure its implementation. The issue also includes a look back at last spring’s National School Breakfast Week celebrations and presents some creative breakfast-in-the-classroom approaches.

Could your operation benefit from some advice and encouragement from school nutrition operators implementing the new meal pattern regulation? “Add One Cup of Creativity” gathers tips and ideas from your colleagues around the country designed to offer some inspiration.

What are the most important key concepts regarding the new changes in school meals? How should you describe them to staff? What types of tools and resources are helpful? “Raising the Bar Isn’t Easy” offers some suggestions for fortifying your front-line staff with the tools and information they need to ensure that implementation of the new meal pattern enjoys long-term success. Bonus Web Content: It’s important to train your front-line staff on the various components of a reimbursable meal and the reasons behind the recent changes to school meals, but don’t overlook the value of regular, reinforced customer service training. Check out an exclusive online overview of key concepts to relay to your team.

It’s a struggle to juggle new regulatory requirements with student customer expectations and demands. Have schools been able to settle on an effective menu mix? “Striking a Balance” takes a look at this hot topic. Bonus Web Content: School Nutrition also asked directors to share details about changes to their menu planning approaches, the variety and frequency of menu items offered and sources for recipe and menu assistance. Their feedback on these topics, as well as other challenges they have encountered, is featured online.

School nutrition professionals set their sights high during National School Breakfast Week, March 5-9, 2012. The “School Breakfast—Go for Gold” theme lent itself to creative promotions, decorations, activities, menus and more. “Good as Gold” serves up inspiring reports from school chefs who truly have hearts of gold.

“Breakfast (in the Classroom) Is Served” reveals some of the menu-related challenges—and opportunities—you may encounter when starting (or expanding) breakfast-in-the-classroom service. Bonus Web Content: Don’t miss online exclusive recipes for scratch-prepared breakfast items such as blueberry muffins and breakfast burritos served in Denver Public Schools.

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School Nutrition-November 2012

George McGovern: Saluting a Champion of Children

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November 7, 2012 – Following the death of Sen. George McGovern in October, SNA mourns the loss of a fierce advocate for children and a staunch supporter of school nutrition programs. While the news media announcing his passing may have led their stories with references to his historic loss in a 1972 bid to lead the nation as president, SNA and its members count the many victories McGovern made as a champion in the fight against hunger and poverty in this country and around the world.

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George McGovern, seen here with GCNF President Gene White, is remembered as a staunch supporter of school nutrition programs.

Sen. McGovern made a commitment to fight hunger back in the 1960s, inspiring many political allies and rivals to action. Most notably, the lifelong Democrat’s enduring partnership with Republican Sen. Bob Dole led to the expansion of several federal nutrition programs (including school lunch and breakfast) and the establishment of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Over the years, even after leaving the Senate, both men worked together to lead numerous campaigns and initiatives to address hunger issues here and abroad.

“I remember Sen. George McGovern with great admiration and appreciation for his leadership and advocacy in expanding the scope of child nutrition and authorizing changes that assured adequate funding for meals served,” recounted Dr. Josephine Martin, an SNA Past President and former Executive Director of the National Food Service Management Institute. “He listened to our needs, welcomed our requests and responded with positive action.”

In particular, Martin cites McGovern’s assistance with the replacement of a fixed annual appropriation for reimbursement to Congress, authorizing “such sums as necessary” to reimburse all approved meals served by category (free, reduced and paid) for both school lunch and school breakfast. “In effect, this authorized entitlement funding assuring sustainability of meals for children throughout the school year and, even more important, sustainability of meal programs within a dynamic economic environment,” she noted.

Gene White, President of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and an SNA Past President, reflected on McGovern’s commitment: “He viewed ending hunger as a lifelong call to action, and in the process, convinced the world that children should be fed at school.” She also praised his ability to put aside political differences to seek solutions. “The McGovern legacy speaks to us all. We have witnessed the importance of putting differences aside to achieve a shared goal, the value of unwavering commitment to a worthy cause and the strength of humanitarian leadership to do the right thing for children.”

Marshall Matz, SNA’s Washington counsel for more than 30 years, enjoyed a close professional and personal relationship with the Senator. “His most enduring legacy…will be in the fight against hunger here at home and around the world,” said Matz in a statement. “As was noted by President Bill Clinton, when he awarded George McGovern the Presidential medal of Freedom, George McGovern was one of the greatest humanitarians of our time. … His legacy on food and nutrition is without equal and will be felt all over the world for many years to come.”

White echoed that assurance of McGovern’s lasting legacy. “These children may never know Senator McGovern by name, but they will never forget that school meals helped them attend school and receive an education.”

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McGovern is seen here at SNA's 2010 Legislative Action Conference with SNA Past Presidents Helen Phillips, Dora Rivas and Nancy Rice.

SNA members at the national, state and local level feel the loss of this friend of school nutrition deeply. A delegation of members from SNA South Dakota were in attendance at the Senator’s funeral on October 26 in Sioux Falls, S.D.; the state affiliate also contributed a memorial donation of $302—$1 for each of its members.

For the complete texts of the statements of tribute from Martin, Matz and White, see the Related Links. Please share your own thoughts and reflections of the Senator’s life, work and enduring legacy in the comments section below.

Related Links:

Tribute from Dr. Josephine Martin

Tribute from Marshall Matz

Tribute from Gene White

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.

AmeriCares
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 www.schoolnutrition.org/snaelection 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


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