Posts Tagged ‘school lunch’

Do you know a hungry child?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Summer feeding sites are open all over Alabama to serve free meals to children under 18, without proof of need. Alabama Possible published a map and sortable database with feeding locations, meals served, dates open, and phone numbers on its webpage at Summer is a particularly vulnerable time for the 436,279 Alabama students who participated in free or reduced lunch during the 2013-2014 school year. Many kids run the risk of missing meals without the guarantee of in-school breakfast and lunch. To address this need, there are more than 700 summer feeding sites across the state this year.

Alabama served kids 385,547 more meals at more than 100 new summer feeding sites during 2013. Summer feeding expansion is a initiative of the  End Child Hunger in Alabama campaign. Over the past year, Alabama Possible has collaborated with the Alabama State Department of Education, regional food banks, and the USDA through the task force. The resulting 30 percent boost in meals served was the biggest in the Southeast, and it moves Alabama closer to the national goal of 40 percent participation.

Alabama served a total of 1,650,652 meals during the summer of 2013. This compares to 1,265,105 in 2012. This moved Alabama up in the national participation rankings to 43rd, compared to 47th in 2012, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) report “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation.” Children under 18 are eligible to eat for free at these summer feeding sites. Most of the sites serve lunch, but some also serve breakfast and dinner. Different locations have different meal times. Additionally, some feeding sites make meals available for purchase by parents and accompanying adults at a low price.   2014 Summer Feeding Map To locate the summer feeding site nearest you, check out our map or text ‘FOOD’ to 877-877.

Join the childhood nutrition discussion

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Michelle Obama celebrated the first anniversary of Let’s Move! yesterday on the Today Show.

Let’s Move! is a national campaign that promotes healthy, active lifestyles for American kids. After her Today Show appearance, Mrs. Obama spoke at a church in Alpharetta, Georgia, recalling some of the past year’s successes while challenging attendees to continue working for childhood nutrition.

“As far as we’ve come, when nearly one in three kids in this country is still overweight or obese, then we’ve still got a long way to go,” she said.

One of Let’s Move’s biggest successes of the past year was the newly signed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (PDF) that has promised a $4.5 billion increase in funding for the National School Lunch Program and other child nutrition programs over the next 10 years.

This newly signed act also gives the USDA the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods regularly sold in schools. Standards include:

  • Calorie limits in school meals
  • Reducing sodium by more than half
  • Banning most trans fats
  • Increased servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Requiring all milk to be low fat or nonfat
  • Requiring all flavored milks to be nonfat
  • Eventually requiring all grains to be whole grains

These changes will have a major impact on Alabama students, since more than half are currently enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program, and nearly one in four live below the federal poverty line. School breakfasts and lunches are the primary source of nutrition for many of these kids. The new guidelines mean they will have access to more nutritious, wholesome foods.

We hope you will join the conversation about improving the school lunch program – and that’s why we’re screening Lunch Line this Sunday, February 13 at 3 p.m. at the Bama Theater in Tuscaloosa. Lunch Line is a fun, informative documentary about the history, opportunities and challenges of the school lunch program.

The screening will be followed by a Taste $2.72 reception featuring food from local favorites including Mug Shots, Surin, Roly Poly, Newk’s, Don Rafa’s Mexican Grill, Mellow Mushroom, and more. Tuscaloosa lunchrooms are reimbursed $2.72 for each lunch served, and we want to give you an idea of how far that can go.

Advance tickets are available here, or you can purchase tickets using cash or check at the door. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for adults. Kids 5 and under are free.

We hope to see you on Sunday!

posted by T.C. McLemore

Rural families depend on child nutrition programs

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

The Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity has posted a Q & A about child nutrition programs and rural families.

Below, Marybeth Mattingly of the Carsey Institute discusses why these programs are so important:

Untitled from Spotlight on Vimeo.

One report finds that participation rates in child nutrition programs are highest in the rural South. According to the Carsey Institute’s report, “More than one-quarter of all rural households with children in the south, for example, participate in the national school Lunch Program, and about 23 percent participate in the school Breakfast Program.”

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Fed up with school lunch?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

We had a great turnout at our Lunch Line screening Saturday, where we hosted the Southeastern premiere of a documentary that shows “how you can impact children’s health and work within the system.”

We were lucky to have one of the filmmakers, Michael Graziano, drive down from Nashville. The film, produced by Graziano and his partner Ernie Park at Uji Films, was alternately hilarious, sobering, and poignant. It follows six kids from Detroit who are just trying to make their school food healthier. In the meantime, it offers a comprehensive look at the history of school lunch; the current state of the program, which feeds over 31 million children daily; and the future of school lunch.

We packed the house with over 60 attendees, who together donated over $500 to help mobilize Alabamians to end poverty in our home state. These donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.  Thank you!

Most importantly, we started a discussion about the school lunch program, the food system, child nutrition, hunger, and childhood obesity – one we hope to continue during our Hunger Workshop tomorrow in Huntsville and the Food Summit on November 12-13 in Birmingham. We’re planning further Lunch Line screenings in Montgomery and at UAB, UA and Auburn; details TBA! If you would like to host a screening with us, contact T.C. McLemore.

Our panel discussion included (above, left to right):

Amanda Storey, coordinator of Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Jefferson County

Scott Silver, the Farm-to-School Coordinator for Jones Valley Urban Farm

Sharon Boshell, Area director for the Child Nutrition Program in Shelby County

Jennifer Horton, parent and chair of the CPC Education Workgroup

Michael Graziano, co-producer of Lunch Line

Amanda, our moderator extraordinaire, sent us these resources about school lunch reform:

To advocate for the Child Nutrition Act working its way through Congress, see Slow Food’s Info on Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

Big thanks to Amanda, Jenn, Scott, Sharon, and Michael for bringing their knowledge, experience, and viewpoints to an excellent panel discussion!

Thanks also to our audience members, who asked great questions; Merrilee and Brad at the Bottletree Cafe, who generously gave us their space; and Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners, Jones Valley Urban Farm, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, and Slow Food Birmingham who promoted this event all over the city.

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Lunch encounters of the third kind

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

One Tray posted this hilarious video to promote Farm to School programs:

The Child Nutrition Act is up for re-authorization in the House of Representatives. 56 percent of Alabama children receive free or federally reduced school lunches through the school lunch program. This bill has the power to change the foods appearing on their lunch trays.

What can you do?

I hope to see you this Saturday at the Bottletree for our Lunch Line screening and discussion!

Posted by Robyn Hyden

More Alabamians hungry than ever, but state struggles to administer food stamps

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Alabama has the 12th highest rate of food insecurity according to new report by the Food Research and Action Center.

And the problem is exacerbated by the state’s middling performance in getting families who are eligible for food stamps enrolled in food stamps.  According to a recent report from the USDA, Only 65 percent of Alabamians who are eligible for food assistance actually receive it.

It is easy to feel powerless in the face of a these statistics.  But we can make a difference.

That’s why Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners hosted this month’s 2009 Alabama Food Summit.   They recommend the following actions for people who are interested in improving food security in their community:

  • Visit your local Farmers Market
  • Subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
  • Ask your grocery store to stock local food
  • Donate time, food, or money to you local food banks or food rescue agencies
  • Write a letter to your Mayor, Governor, Representative or Senator showing your support of local food.
  • Talk to your child’s school about school lunches

Posted by Kristina Scott