The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 salutes food staff as concert with NSLW
By Seth Hancock
This week is National School Lunch Week (NSLW), and the Board of Education in School District U-46 recognized it with a proclamation of appreciation to the district’s food and nutrition services staff at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 1.
Mary Fergus, director of school and community relations, said U-46 serves over 4,000 breakfasts and 20,000 lunches daily.
“They continue to encourage our students to eat healthy and live healthy lifestyles,” Fergus said of the district’s food and nutrition staff.
The proclamation stated that district staff provides “nutritious meals that promote proper growth and development and helps students reach their maximum potential…. The contributions of these talented and dedicated individuals are recognized in honor of National School Lunch Week.”
“U-46 food and nutrition services staff not only bring their special skills to the efficient operations of the school system, they also have played a significant role in the district’s quest for continuous improvement,” the proclamation added.
Elena Hildreth, director of food and nutrition services, said that this year the district has added more fresh fruit options and “we’re offering a lot more fresh made sandwiches and salads.” She said custom-made bars are being added to secondary schools, including burger bars recently instituted at three middle schools.
The theme of this year’s NSLW is “School Lunch: Lots 2 Love” according to the School Nutrition Association.
President John F. Kennedy issued the first proclamation establishing the week, which starts on the second Sunday of October each year, in 1962. Every president has issued a proclamation recognizing the week since then through current President Donald J. Trump.
Kennedy, according to his initial proclamation, established the week to promote the National School Lunch Act (NSLA), signed into law in 1946 by President Harry S. Truman, which created a taxpayer subsidy to pay for free and low-cost meals to students.
Of the NSLA, Kennedy wrote that it “was enacted as a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food.”
The 2017 proclamation from Trump stated: “The health and well-being of our children is vital to the success of our Nation. When our Nation’s youth have their basic needs fulfilled, they can better focus on succeeding in school and in life. During National School Lunch Week, we recognize the benefits that school lunch programs offer to our communities and to our Nation’s future…. We recognize the food service professionals, school administrators, community members, parents, and all those who dedicate themselves to the health of our schoolchildren.”
The NSLA has created controversy with rising costs, obesity rates and food waste being correlating with the increased federal involvement in school meal programs.
A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine estimated that $1.2 billion of food goes to waste in public schools each year.
A 2008 report from the United States Department of Agriculture showed that the cost of the NSLA has risen from about $500 million in 1969 to about $8 billion in 2005 which is over $5 billion higher than the rate of inflation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator. The report also stated that participants in the national program exceed the recommended sodium intake at a greater rate than nonparticipants, and they have modestly higher rates of obesity.