Tag Archives: USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program

Too many American schools are still flunking lunch!

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This summer the City of Worcester ran a kick-ass summer lunch/snack program for low-income/hungry kids at our parks – the USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program! This blue bus (pictured above) could be seen rolling down our city streets, even making stops at our branch libraries! … School’s begun! Hola, Ms. Lunch Lady! Unlike lots of school districts, the Worcester Public Schools work to incorporate fresh veggies and fruits into students’ meals – at every grade level! AND EVERY STUDENT CAN GET A FREE LUNCH! Go, WPS, go!!! – Rosalie T.

By Heather Moore

I don’t care what kids say — the school lunch lady is not trying to kill them. The federal government is. Well, I have my suspicions, at least. Many of the meals served as part of the National School Lunch Program are high in fat and cholesterol and contain considerably more sodium than fiber. They’re a heart attack in the making. I wonder if that’s why the American Heart Association has warned us that atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries — begins in childhood and progresses into adulthood, at which point it can lead to coronary heart disease.

Most American schools serve the same artery-clogging meals that were served when I was a student, and frozen meals still had to be baked in the oven. How can we expect students to take a health teacher’s “healthy eating tips” seriously when their school cafeteria is serving unhealthy foods?

Salisbury steak, pepperoni pizza and chicken nuggets need to go the way of film projectors and hand-crank pencil sharpeners. And fast-food corporations should also be expelled from schools — or at least suspended until they serve more plant-based meals.

As Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says, “Fresh produce, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are nutritional powerhouses that study after study has shown to be quite literally lifesaving .… [D]iets high in animal protein are associated with a fourfold increase in the chance of dying from cancer or diabetes — making heavy meat and dairy consumption just as dangerous as smoking.”

Responsible parents teach their children not to smoke because cigarettes cause cancer and other health problems. For the same reason, they should make sure their kids don’t get hooked on hamburgers and other unhealthy foods. Let’s put more emphasis on teaching children to eat vegan meals — at school and at home. Kids will gladly eat plant-based meals, such as pasta, veggie burgers and black bean chili, if they’re delicious as well as nutritious.

Knowing this, the Coalition for Healthy School Food created the Cool School Food program to develop, test and implement plant-based meals in school cafeterias. The program — which helped two public schools in New York implement the first entirely plant-based school menus in the U.S. — aims to make it fun and exciting for young people to try new foods and learn about their health benefits.

Food Is Elementary, another school program that was recently featured in VegNews magazine, is also working to introduce children to plant-based foods, which the kids prepare and eat as part of a curriculum established by the founder of the Food Studies Institute, a New York-based nonprofit that helps school cafeterias incorporate low-fat, high-fiber foods into their menus.

We need more programs like these. Students are fed up with the unappetizing, inhumane and potentially disease-promoting fare that passes as lunch in many school cafeterias. Last year, students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago boycotted school lunch in an attempt to persuade officials to serve healthier meals, including more fresh fruit and vegetables.

That’s hardly an unreasonable request. The school cafeteria is supposed to be a source of nourishment, not disease. This year’s National School Lunch Week, which will be observed in October, aims to remind “parents, students and school officials that a healthy lunch helps students power through the day!”

But how can we expect kids to make it through the day — and learn compassion and empathy — if they’re eating unhealthy animal-based foods? We need to teach children that “v” is for vegan and serve them healthy, tasty, cruelty-free plant-based foods.

Go, Jimmy, go!!!! … McGovern Kicks Off Summer Meals Tour For Low-Income Students in Central Mass

NEXT MONDAY, JULY 18!!!

McGovern Kicks Off Summer Meals Tour For Low-Income Students in Central and Western Massachusetts

Congressman Jim McGovern will kick off his third annual Summer Food Rocks Tour next Monday to highlight USDA’s national Summer Food Service Program and how it helps ensure that low-income students in Massachusetts do not go hungry during the summer months when school is out of session.

This year’s tour includes visits to Worcester, Athol, Turner Falls, Ware and Webster.

As part of Congressman McGovern’s third annual tour, he will lead a roundtable with state and local leaders to talk about how the summer food program helps communities in need and visit summer meals sites at schools across the region.

Joining Congressman McGovern on the day-long tour will be:

· Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

· Kurt Messner, USDA Northeast Regional Administrator Food and Nutrition Service

· Candice Stoiber, USDA Northeast Region Director Special Nutrition Programs Division, Food and Nutrition Service

· Rob Leshin, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Acting Director of the Office for Nutrition Programs

The USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites. Full info on Monday’s tour is below:

7:45AM – 8:10AM in ATHOL

Congressman McGovern; Julianna Valcour (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed); and Orange School Committee Leaders

Congressman Assists With Breakfast Service to Students

Athol High School, 2363 Main Street, Athol

8:40AM – 9:15AM in TURNER FALLS

Congressman McGovern; Julianna Valcour (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed); and Gill and Montague Regional School Leaders

Congressman Assists With Breakfast Service to Students

Unity Park, 7 First Street, Turner Falls

10:10AM – 11:15AM in WARE

Congressman McGovern; Ellen Parker (Project Bread Executive Director); Julie Wayman (Project Bread Child Nutrition Outreach Director); Christina Maxwell (Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Programs Director); Abby Getman (Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Planning and Advocacy Coordinator); Simca Hoorwitz (Eastern Massachusetts Director of the Massachusetts Farm to School); Ware Town Administrator Stuart Beckley; MA State Senator Anne Gobi

Summer Food Rocks Tour Roundtable Discussion

Ware Junior and Senior High School, 237 West Street, Ware

11:15AM – 11:45AM in WARE

Congressman McGovern; Amy Socolow (Summer Food Service Consultant – MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed.); MA State Senator Anne Gobi, Ware Town Administrator Stuart Beckley; and Ware School Committee Leaders;

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Kaziol Elementary School, 4 Gould Road, Ware

12:35PM – 1:00PM in WEBSTER

Congressman McGovern, Amy Socolow (Summer Food Service Consultant – MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed.); MA State Rep. Joseph McKenna; and Webster School Committee

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Park Avenue Elementary School, 58 Park Avenue, Webster

2:40PM – 3:10PM in WORCESTER

Congressman McGovern; Donna Lombardi (Worcester Public Schools Director of Nutrition); Jean McMurray (Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director); Liz Sheehan Castro (Worcester County Food Bank Director of Advocacy); Martha Assefa (Worcester Food and Active Living Policy Council); and Frances Canning (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Review Coordinator for Special Nutrition Programs)

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Burncoat Preparatory School Playground, 526 Burncoat Street, Worcester

3:25PM – 4:00PM in WORCESTER

WHO: Congressman McGovern; Frances Canning (MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Ed. Review Coordinator for Special Nutrition Programs); Jean McMurray (Worcester County Food Bank Executive Director); Liz Sheehan Castro (Worcester County Food Bank Advocacy Director); and Martha Assefa (Worcester Food and Active Living Policy Council)

Congressman Assists With Lunch Service to Students

Girls Inc., 125 Providence Street, Worcester

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Jim works closely with REC. REC FARMERS MARKETS and REC Mobile Farmers Market blue van ACCEPT SNAP, WIC … ALL families can eat well! Times and places:
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Rec mobile farmers market blue van! pic: R.T.

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