Nourishing food is fundamental to a healthy future for America’s children. Earlier this month, we celebrated the important role of school lunches, and the professionals that serve them in schools throughout the nation. The President proclaimed October 8-14 as National School Lunch Week in recognition of “the benefits that school lunch programs offer to our communities and to our Nation's future.” Over the course of the week, USDA leaders headed out to local schools to join children for lunch, and learned more about those schools’ “Recipes for Success” – the theme of the week.
- Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps joined youngsters at Smothers Elementary School in Washington, D.C., for beef and cheese tacos, black beans, corn-tomato salad, milk and a fresh pear. While there he spoke with students and their families at a special parent/teacher lunch in celebration of National School Lunch Week.
“I can remember enjoying hot meals at my school growing up, and it’s great to see these young people doing the same,” said Lipps. “Schools rightly focus on the communities they serve, and school meals programs work because they empower nutrition professionals in those schools and communities to serve nutritious meals they can enjoy. We at USDA are proud to partner with all those who care about our children to make sure that they have the food that they need to learn and grow.”
- Also that week, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski took the opportunity to visit Neptune Middle School (NMS) in Neptune, N.J. “It was wonderful to celebrate National School Lunch Week in such a great school, and I enjoyed meeting students and staff. NMS has a beautifully renovated cafeteria and has done a great job offering selections that are both healthy and delicious for growing teens.” Dombroski learned that the school district’s leadership is pleased to promote healthier versions of kid-approved favorites and takes great pride in serving locally grown foods whenever possible.
- On Wednesday (October 11), the Southwest Regional Office helped Garland ISD’s Bradfield Elementary, near Dallas, liven up their National School Lunch Week celebration. Here, the Texas Farm Fresh Jump with Jill Live Tour entertained and taught students about nutrition and Texas agriculture, while using music and physical activity to reinforce key messages. The Texas Department of Agriculture partnered with Jump with Jill to help the state’s children realize the importance of eating nutritious foods and exercising every day. The tour will visit 20 schools in North East Texas during September and October 2017.
Local food service professionals, in big cities and in small rural communities, work hard to ensure the meals they serve are safe, nutritious and delicious for students. They often rely on feedback from students, taste tests, help from professional chefs, and other creative approaches to preparing and serving nutritious and appealing meals that students will eat. National School Lunch Week celebrated their efforts, and the unique ways that they make their programs successful.