Contact: Alexis Steines
(703) 739-3900, ext. 175
LAS VEGAS (June 29, 2009) – The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recognized three of its own today at the 63rd Annual National Conference, in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition to state and regional award winners, three SNA members received national recognition on Monday, June 29, 2009 for their superior accomplishments in the school nutrition arena.
The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence was awarded to Adrienne Gooley, cafeteria manager at Valley View Elementary School in Columbia Heights, Minn. Gooley was recognized for increasing the number of families that completed free and reduced price meal applications by the October 1, 2008 deadline. The previous year’s free and reduced price benefits are only applied to students until October 1st. After that date, many qualified children were eliminated from the program and subjected to receiving only a peanut butter or cheese sandwich and milk. Recognizing that many eligible families do not turn in the necessary forms to continue receiving free and reduced price meals, Gooley developed a campaign to enroll 80 percent more families than the previous year. Sensitive to the needs of her ethnically diverse community, Gooley oversaw the creation of a letter in three languages that explained the importance of filling out a free and reduced price meals application each year. She also hired a Spanish interpreter to help at the annual school open house. Gooley has truly made it a point to ensure that “Hunger ends on our watch.”
The 2009 National Outstanding Director of the Year is Wanda Grant, School Nutrition Director for Palm Springs Unified School District in California. An SNA member for 34 years, Grant has had a dynamic school nutrition career. When she first arrived in the Palm Springs Unified School District, only 54% of students participated in the school nutrition programs, while 80% of students qualified for free and reduced price meals. As director, program participation has risen to 92%. Grant successfully applied for a $1.5 million dollar grant to start a school breakfast program in her district, which has helped her achieve 55% participation in the program. She has engaged students in learning about good nutrition by sponsoring Nutrition Advisory Councils (NAC) in several district schools. Grant was a pioneer in coordinating school health programs in her community. In 1997, she started a Coordinated School Health Committee, which would later known as the Wellness Committee. Through this committee, Grant ensured that students would learn the multiple components of healthy living. Grant is dedicated to strengthening the school nutrition profession, leading and developing many professional development and customer service classes. She also partners with three universities to run a dietetic internship program, encouraging future nutrition professionals to consider the school nutrition field. Grant’s career has spanned three states, where she has served the School Nutrition Association on the local, state, and national levels.
This year’s Heart of the Program Award goes to Debbie Pridemore, a school nutrition employee at Rosedale Elementary School in Fayette County, W.V. Pridemore is recognized by her colleagues as “an outstanding person with
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 22, 2009) – When school is out, training and networking is in for the thousands of school nutrition professionals who will attend this year’s Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the challenge of rising food and labor costs, increased demand for school meals, the legislative push for national nutrition standards through Child Nutrition Reauthorization, and the ongoing efforts to address childhood overweight, this year’s conference promises to be where the action is. Learn more about all the hot topics June 29 – July 3, 2009, in Las Vegas for SNA’s 63nd Annual National Conference (ANC.) The conference includes over 80 educational breakout sessions and the largest exhibit hall in school nutrition, featuring more than 760 booths packed with healthful foods, beverages and ingredients, services, equipment and technology. ANC 2009 will be held at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas.
ANC 2009 provides members of the media an opportunity to understand the trends and issues facing school nutrition programs nationwide:
SNA, (http://www.schoolnutrition.org) the School Nutrition Association, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. Founded in 1946, the Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals.
FOR RELEASE June 19, 2009Contact: Alexis Steines: 703-739-3900 ext firstname.lastname@example.org
SNA President Dr. Katie Wilson Presents New Findings on the Prevalence of Vegetarian Meals in Schools
WASHINGTON (June 19, 2009) School Nutrition Association president Dr. Katie Wilson, SNS announced new data today on the widespread availability of vegetarian school lunch options. Almost two thirds of school nutrition programs now offer a vegetarian school lunch on a consistent basis, up from 22% in 2003, according to the Association’s soon to be released 2009 School Nutrition Operations Report. The availability of vegetarian school lunches in a majority of districts is consistent with the overall trend in the past five years towards more nutritious school lunches emphasizing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy. The vegetarian choices also come in spite of federal school lunch reimbursements that have not kept pace with increased food and labor costs. Dr. Wilson presented the research findings at the National Conference on Childhood Obesity in Washington, DC today.
School nutrition professionals continue to respond to the dietary needs of students – regularly providing tasty and healthful meal choices that meet diverse cultural, religious, and social preferences. According to a 2008 study by Harris Interactive published in Vegetarian Times, 3.2% of US adults follow a vegetarian based diet. Children are increasingly also following vegetarian diets. During fall 2008, in response to a call for comments on child nutrition reauthorization, the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service received over 10,000 comments on the need for increased availability of vegetarian meals in schools.
SNA has tracked vegetarian meal choices in schools since 2003 as part of the School Nutrition Operations Report conducted every two years. The series of Reports, based on surveys of 1,200 school nutrition directors nationally, found that the number of schools offering vegetarian meals rose from 22.3% in 2003 to 63.9% in 2009 and increased over 12% since 2007. The 2009 Report also found that 20.5% of school nutrition programs offer vegan meal options (no meat, dairy or animal products). Additionally, these types of meal options are most common at the high school level and least common at the elementary school level. Vegetarian school lunches include entree salads and veggie pizza with whole grain crust as well as beans and rice, chef salads with yogurt and sunflower seeds, cheese stuffed shells, vegetable hoagies (with 2 cheeses, red and green pepper strips, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato) and lentil sauce with pasta.
While the 41.6% increase in vegetarian meal options available in schools has been dramatic over the past six years, challenges remain. SNA member school nutrition directors identified cost of vegetarian items as a significant barrier to making these choices available. Currently school nutrition programs receive $2.57 in federal meal reimbursement for each lunch served to students qualifying for free school meals. The average cost to prepare a school lunch during the present school year is estimated by SNA to be $2.92. Incorporating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables into meals often adds to the food and labor cost. The School Nutrition Association is calling for an increase of 35 cents in the federal school lunch reimbursement as part of the 2009 child nutrition reauthorization process in Congress.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA),www.schoolnutrition.org, is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children’s health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.
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