Loading...
BYH to those wanting outdoor dining uptown. I'm with you as long as we pass a law keeping mosquitoes and other insects...

Schools fight food insecurity

KathyKolasa

Kathy Kolasa

Loading…

Kathy Kolasa

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Q — A few weeks ago, I wrote an article outlining some of the efforts that Pitt County Schools is making to combat school lunch shaming practices. I learned a lot about the Child Nutrition Program that I didn’t know and I think is important to share. — Frank Hernandez, Greenville

A — Frank, you are right. I hope your report below will encourage families that are not taking advantage of the Child Nutrition Programs will do so. And I hope all of us will support the Child Nutrition Program and its staff who are working hard to help students eat healthy and be ready to learn. In today’s political environment, even these programs that promote healthful diets and active lifestyles for our next generation are challenged. It’s Valentine’s Day, and we want to tell Pitt County Child Nutrition employees how much we love them! Here is what Frank wants you to know.

It has become apparent to me that lunch shaming practices are a direct consequence of a deeper problem at hand — food insecurity. The truth is that there are families who cannot afford to pay for their child’s school meals, and lunch shaming practices are intended to pressure these families into paying. So why not address the root of the problem instead, food insecurity?

In my meeting with Leann Seelman, child nutrition administrator for Pitt County Schools, I inquired about the approach that Pitt County School Nutrition Services is taking to ensure that no child in our community goes hungry. Families need to know that there are free or reduced lunches available. Family circumstances change, so any family can apply at any point throughout the school year. If approved, their children will receive either free or discounted meal prices. There is extra help for low-wealth schools.

The Community Eligibility Provision, a key provision of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, is available at certain schools in high-poverty areas. All students, regardless of family income, can receive free breakfast and lunch. With CEP, there is no required application from parents. CEP is implemented at 16 of the 37 Pitt County Schools, six more schools than last year. Seelman assured me that her team is working closely with eligible schools to apply for this program and is hopeful more will adopt CEP in the future.

In another effort to combat food insecurity among school-aged children, a free summer meal program is offered at 16 strategically selected sites throughout the county. Free lunch is served at all sites, and free breakfast is served at most sites to anyone age 18 and younger. These meals meet the nationally mandated nutrition guidelines and feature many of the same nutritious foods that are popular with students during the academic school year.

School Nutrition Services is also keeping meals affordable. It takes about $3.30 to produce a meal, in part because of the buying power of participating in the N.C. Procurement Alliance, a buying group of 100 school districts across North Carolina. But what good is an affordable meal if the children decide it’s not delicious? The purchasing power of the alliance has allowed nutrition administrators to work directly with manufacturers to develop products that meet national specifications and appeal to student taste preferences.

For example, to make chicken nuggets a healthier food choice, the manufacturer started producing them with whole-wheat breading. They were not well received, and Seelman witnessed untouched nuggets left on lunch trays. The manufacturer reformulated the nugget breading to improve the taste while maintaining the nutritious benefit.

Child nutrition services are not fully funded by the government. School nutrition services are non-profit organizations that must ensure their expenses do not exceed income. In an effort to save a few dollars, many districts across the nation have opted to outsource their school nutrition services to large companies that do not have a personal stake in the local community.

We think it’s important that Pitt County has elected to keep child nutrition services a local business. It provides employment opportunities for community members while also being mindful of the affordability and quality of the food that is served to the children. By providing affordable, delicious and kid-friendly meals, I would argue that Pitt County School Nutrition Services is doing its part to combat food insecurity in our community and help children learn to eat healthy, affordable foods and beverages.

Frank Hernandez is a medical student participating in service-learning distinction track, a unique program at Brody. Dr. Susan K. Keen, a Brody family physician, is the adviser to that track, which prepares, encourages, supports and recognizes medical students who work extensively with medically underserved, marginalized and rural populations during their medical school careers.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and Ph.D., is an Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

May 27, 2018

"The Garden is Open" sign is still there.

The tulips and azaleas, though well past their height, still glorify the yard.

It is still worth a special trip to Chapel Hill to experience this lovely, well-planned, colorful garden.

But the twin sisters who planned every part of their grounds and…

May 23, 2018

Sometimes presentation is overrated. Eton Mess is a British dessert that’s an unapologetic mishmash of fruit, cream and crumbled meringues folded together and plunked in a glass or bowl. It’s the kind of mix that appeals to kids and adults alike. While you might call it messy,…

LyndaBalslev

May 20, 2018

Weeks after college graduations and weeks before high school ceremonies, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is having what the Rev. Bob Hudak calls a “commencement” today.

It is not a commencement in which diplomas will be conferred but a commencement in the sense of the beginning of…

121717OliverPerez-3.jpg

May 20, 2018

I read recently about a mama raccoon and her four babies falling through the ceiling and onto the living room couch of a Michigan home.

The closest I ever came to that was a lone dead squirrel that wormed its way around the uncompleted mounting of a new ceiling light fixture, was apparently…

Bob Garner

May 20, 2018

GET A GRIP, GIRLS

Dear Short Answers: There is a woman in town who is a stay-at-home mom with three children. Every year (actually, three times a year), she throws the most lavish birthday parties for her kids. It makes the rest of us moms look like slackers. Every year, our own kids ask why…

Short Answers

May 19, 2018

SERVICES

■ Burning Bush United Holy Church, 610 N.C. 43 North, Vanceboro, will have quarterly meeting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

■ Carson Memorial Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1710 Pactolus Highway, will have its annual homecoming service at 11 a.m. Sunday. The group Unshackled will be musical guests.…

May 18, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR — The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. (2…

051818showdogs

May 18, 2018

Diners at Oklahoma’s Tulsa Club must have thought there was something funny going on that spring evening when more than two dozen men met on the roof and spent several hours singing old songs.

Customer complaints about the noise caused the next meeting to be moved to the Hotel Tulsa, but the…

051818Gobarbershop-1.jpg

May 18, 2018

GMA

Art from Pitt County Schools high school students will be on exhibit from today through June 10 in the Commons Gallery. An opening reception will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. today.

The Greenville Museum of Art is at 802 Evans St. Call 758-1946 or visit gmoa.org.

Gray Gallery

The exhibit “110…

051118rockthebus-5.jpg

May 16, 2018

Wingstop is a new restaurant at 1885 E. Fire Tower Road next to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. Enjoy ample seating at artfully decorated tables with an aviation theme, listen to upbeat music and order an array of items from wings to sides from the easy-to-navigate menu.

Wingstop offers three styles of…

051618hotdish
329 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»