SNA News

Make Your Holidays Healthier with the STEPS Challenge

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November 29, 2012 – From Thanksgiving to New Years, it seems as if pie, comfort food and cookies are everywhere! Participating in the STEPS Challenge can help you strike a healthy balance with eating and exercise, manage your holiday stress, and get a jump start on your healthy resolutions for 2013.

Register for the STEPS Challenge, and you’ll gain access to healthy recipes, fitness ideas and wellness tips. You can also participate in monthly challenges for a chance to win great prizes. December’s challenge rewards you with points for taking breaks to relax and unwind during the busy holiday season.

Participating is easy:

  • Download a December tracking sheet from the STEPS Challenge website and print it out
  • Record the points you earn in December on your sheet
  • Submit it to SNA before January 5th to be entered in the prize drawing. Email it to or fax it to (301) 686-3115

If you earn 50+ points, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Bath & Body Works aromatherapy gift set!

Sign up and get started today at

SNA’s 2012 Fall Membership Drive a Success

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November 19, 2012 – SNA’s 2012 Fall Membership Drive was very successful, welcoming 1583 new members this fall. The membership campaign ran from August 1 to October 31, 2012.

Every year, the top recruiting states in each region are awarded with a complimentary one-year membership to the Association. The states receiving this award are as follows:

  • Mideast Region: Michigan with 100 new members. West Virginia with a 17% increase in new members.
  • Midwest Region: Minnesota with 58 new members. Missouri with a 6% increase in new members.
  • Northeast Region: New Jersey with 25 new members. Vermont with a 17% increase in new members.
  • Northwest Region: Washington with 23 new members. Idaho with a 3% increase in new members.
  • Southeast Region: Georgia with 195 new members. South Carolina with a 14% increase in new members.
  • Southwest Region: Oklahoma with 89 new members. Arkansas with a 4% increase in new members.
  • West Region: California with 66 new members. Nevada with a 7% increase in new members.

These states will be recognized in the School Nutrition magazine and in July at the Annual National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

For questions regarding the Fall Membership Drive, contact Ellen Wilson, Director of Membership and Affiliate Services, at (800) 877-8822, ext. 119, or

SNF Reaches Another Fundraising Milestone

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November 19, 2012 – The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is proud to announce that it has reached another milestone along its fundraising goal for the Josephine Martin Endowment Fund. As of November 15, 2012, SNF has passed the $15,000 mark, having raised $16,630 toward the goal of $75,000.

The Josephine Martin Endowment Fund serves as a fitting tribute to Dr. Martin’s passion for child nutrition and ensures that the voices of child nutrition professionals will continue to be heard by legislators and policy makers at the local, state and national levels. An additional aim of this Fund is to provide an SNA member the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for the School Nutrition Association’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) for the first time, to carry on Dr. Martin’s living legacy.

To learn more about the Josephine Martin Endowment Fund and to help us reach our fundraising goal, visit

SNA Joins the National Restaurant Association and McCormick for Chefs on Kids Recipe Contest

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November 15, 2012 - Last month, the National Restaurant Association and McCormick for Chefs launched its Kids Recipe Challenge, a competition to showcase the restaurant and foodservice industry’s culinary ingenuity for creating healthful menu items for children.  SNA is supporting this exciting new program and encouraging members to submit school meal recipes for consideration.

The contest is designed to recognize the best recipes used on children's menus at restaurants and other foodservice establishments around the country.  The collaboration highlights how organizations can work together to ensure young people have ready access to healthy, nutritious food throughout their communities.

Restaurant and foodservice operators interested in participating in the Kids Recipe Challenge can submit one or more recipes from their children's menus that meet the nutrition guidelines of the NRA's Kids LiveWellSM initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate program.  Participants can compete in four categories: independent restaurants or companies with fewer than 20 units; multi-unit company with more than 20 units; contract-managed foodservice; and independent noncommercial foodservice (including school foodservice).  A panel of industry professionals will select the contest's finalists and elementary school students will choose the winners. The deadline for recipe submissions is Jan. 7, 2013. For details on submitting recipes, visit

Winners of the contest will be flown to will be revealed at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, May 18-21 in Chicago.

The Kids Recipe Challenge is a complement to Kids LiveWell, which the NRA launched in July 2011 in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children find healthful menu options when dining out. To date, more than 100 brands representing nearly 30,000 restaurants are participating in Kids LiveWell.

One Voice for School Nutrition: SNA’s Annual Membership Campaign

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November 14, 2012 – The adage that reminds us that “there is strength in numbers,” certainly holds true for SNA. When it comes to your national Association, a larger membership leads to greater influence on Capitol Hill, in the media and within individual school communities. But that strength depends on you—not only your own membership, but your recruitment efforts, as well.

While you know well all the benefits of your national membership, SNA has sweetened the pot, so to speak, in appealing to current members to help increase membership ranks. Your Association needs your help to remain strong as the voice of school nutrition. When you recruit five or more new SNA members (between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013), you automatically will be entered into a drawing to win some terrific prizes. These include a grand prize trip for two to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands or one of seven free registrations to SNA’s 2014 Annual National Conference in Boston! The more members you recruit in the One Voice for School Nutrition 2012-13 Annual Membership Campaign, the more chances you have to win.

As a member of the Association, you are SNA’s #1 ambassador! Your ability to spread positive word of mouth is invaluable, and oftentimes it is the most powerful motivator. And SNA’s great members-only benefits should make it even easier for you to get your colleagues—at all levels, from employees to directors—interested in joining.

In addition to the chance to win exciting prizes, recruitment will give you a sense of pride in promoting your own professionalism as a member in the only national association dedicated solely to professional growth in school nutrition.

For additional information on how you can help get the word out, or to view the complete prize drawing rules, visit

CNIC 2013 Early Bird Deadline Fast Approaching

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November 14, 2012 – With tight budgets and new nutrition standards, school nutrition professionals face significant challenges. Everyone has to do MORE...with less, and that’s just one reason that continued professional development is more important than ever. SNA’s upcoming 2013 Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) in San Antonio will provide the career educational and networking opportunities you need for success. Plus, when you register by the Early Bird registration deadline, November 26, you will save $50 off the regular registration fees. Talk about getting the most out of your education dollar!

This annual event will be held January 13-15, 2013, at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio and its theme, “Where Partners Create Possibilities,” will focus on the importance of collaboration. You’ll gain new information and ideas from inspiring keynote speakers and presentations from experts on topics including the latest data on the operational impact of the new meal patterns to how the outcome of the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections may affect your operation or business.

One of the highlights of the conference each year, and sure to be a hit at CNIC 2013, is the Innovation Station sessions. This unique learning experience will give you the chance to team up with your peers and preview the latest and most innovative food, beverage, service, supply and equipment offerings on the market today. Innovation Stations also allow industry representatives interested in meeting key decision-makers like you the opportunity to discuss your requirements and obtain your valuable feedback.

With so many takeaways from CNIC, it shouldn’t be hard convincing your supervisor why it’s so important to attend. However, if you need a little help demonstrating the importance; SNA has created a letter template highlighting how your professional development at CNIC is a smart investment for your school nutrition program.

So, don’t delay...register by November 26 and join us in San Antonio for CNIC 2013!

Related Links:

CNIC 2013


Innovation Stations

CNIC Letter to your Supervisor

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.

Related Links:

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.

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.”

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.

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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