Tag Archives: school food service

School_Cafe

Summer School Lunch Programs: Serving Year-Round Nutrition

Summer is just around the corner, and that means most schools will be finished with their cafeteria duties until fall. But many schools throughout the country participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The SFSP was created to help low-income children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  All children 18 years old and younger are eligible to receive free meals through the summer lunch programs at approved SFSP sites in areas where there is a significant concentration of low-income children.

Summer lunch program background

The SFSP started in 1968 as an amendment to the National School Lunch Act. In 1975, it became a separate program. Currently, the SFSP is the largest federal resource for local sponsors to combine children’s nutrition programs with summer activity programs.  The SFSP is administered by Food and Nutrition Service, which is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. In the summer of 2012, about 39,000 sites provided meals to more than 2.28 million children.  In 2012, Congress spent $398 million on the SFSP programs across the country.

Why have summer lunch programs?

When school is out, only 1 out of 7 children who receive free or reduced lunches during the regular school year will continue to receive meals during the summer months. Good nutrition is essential for children’s physical and social development. Schools, local governments, camps, non-profit universities, and private non-profit organizations can sponsor SFSP programs. Resources for those interested can be found at the Food and Nutrition Service website. These resources includes a Summer Meals ToolkitFAQs for sponsors, and tips on how to raise awareness. As a part of this program, sites will be reimbursed, based on the number of meals served.

A sponsor site has the option to prepare its own meals, purchase meals through another school, or contract meals from a food service management company.  For sites that have their own kitchen and are able to prepare their own meals for the summer lunch program, a higher rate of reimbursement is given for “self-prep” rates.

Central’s school cafeteria products

School trays, Summer Lunch Programs

Central carries everything you need for your school cafeteria.

Whether your school is preparing for a summer lunch program, or getting ready for the upcoming school year, Central has you covered. If you need equipment – check out our selection of refrigeration, cooking, and food prep. We also carry supplies such as food trays and pans, as well as school furniture for your seating needs. If you’re not sure where to start, we have a school product buying guide. We also have expert solutions online, and many manufacturers offer extended warranties to schools. Shop online or call 800-215-9293 to speak to a product consultant!

school food service

Latest School Food Service News and Pre-Holiday Checklist

As the holiday season inches closer and closer, catch up on the latest school food service news and create a pre-holiday checklist.

school food serviceLatest School Food Service News

President Signs Bill To Increase EpiPens in Schools

With life threatening allergies on the rise, President Obama signed a bill on Wednesday November 13 to increase EpiPens in schools.  Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

FAME Award Winners Announced

Winners have been announced for the 25th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program.   Sandra Ford, SNS, director, Food and Nutrition Services of the Manatee County School District in Bradenton, Fla. won Golden Food Service Director of the Year. Read about this award and learn about other award winners from the School Nutrition Association.

Data Now Available for National School Lunch Participation and More

The USDA has updated data for Child Nutrition Tables. Learn about National School Lunch and School Breakfast participation, program costs, meals served and more on from the USDA.

Changes to National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services has proposed a rule “to amend the eligibility regulations for free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program to codify the statutory provision that establishes the community eligibility provision, a reimbursement option for eligible local educational agencies and schools that wish to offer free school meals to all children in high poverty schools without collecting household applications.” Read the rule in it’s entirety or read a summarized version from the the School Nutrition Association.

Farm to School Month and School to Farm Census Results

October was the USDA’s Farm to School Month. During this year’s event, they released the first “Farm to School Census” from the 2011 to 2012 school year.  This study concluded there were over 38,000 schools with 21 million students serving over $350 million in local food.  Read more from the USDA and view the census results.

school food servicePre-Holiday Checklist

Replace Old Equipment

It is easy to ignore problems or or fail to keep up with routine maintenance when it comes to food service equipment–that is until something goes out completely.  Never wait until equipment is broken because in some cases it can take days for a service call to get resolved (which could be detrimental to your operation).  Take some time to review routine maintenance goals and replace equipment (or supplies) if necessary.

Review Food Safety Goals

Make sure school food service employees are following all food safety guidelines from proper handwashing techniques to cooking food thoroughly. Our Food Safety Resource Guide can help fill in any blanks and read articles about food safety on our blog.

Implement or Reassess Food Allergy Protocol

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one of every 13 children are affected by food allergies. Whether your school food service is very familiar with allergies, or is just learning how to implement procedures, it’s important to review your strategy.  In October, the CDC released “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs” which is a great resource for schools of all levels.

school food serviceApply for Grants

Take advantage of potential free money to improve your school food service. Here are a  few grants currently available on a national level, be sure to search your area for local grants:

Analyze Food Buying Procedures

Take some time to review how much your school food service is buying and spending.  The National Food Service Management Institute of the University of Mississippi has created this helpful “Food Buying Guide” which is a calculator for the child nutrition programs.  It allows you to choose a type of food, serving size and number of servings then calculates how much should be purchased.  This is a free feature that doesn’t require (or even have) login information; simply print or email your list.