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Staunton City Schools - School Nutrition Program

Mission: The School Nutrition Program (SNP) provides students with the nutrition necessary for academic success, by serving high quality meals in a safe environment.

Community Need: Their mission is to feed children; to strengthen their bodies and minds; and as a result, build a stronger community. Nationwide 31 million children benefit from school meals during the school year.  When schools close for the summer, many families lack access to balanced meals.  Children who experience food gap, will often skip meals or consume cheap empty calorie foods. This lack contributes to overall poor health and puts these children at risk of lagging behind their higher –income peers.  Providing a summer meal program is critical to address food insecurity. In the City of Staunton, nearly 56% of students qualify for free or reduced meals which means that over half of the community children are at risk of food insecurity over the summer break.

Primary Activities: The SNP manages the federally subsidized, state administered, National School Lunch program (NSL), the School Breakfast (SB) program and CACFP Snack program, and SFSP Summer Feeding program. In addition, they initiated a robust Farm to School program.  They oversee all aspects of food service in six schools, including, but not limited to, procurement, menu and recipe development, financial management, nutrition education and wellness coordination, and facility operation. They emphasize local sourcing whenever possible and provide nutrition education experiences that teach children good eating habits that will promote a lifetime of holistic health.

Constituents Served: All school aged children who are enrolled in Staunton City Schools, and affiliated programs, are eligible to participate in NSL and SB.  Students who are members of households receiving  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families are automatically  eligible for free meals, and students whose household size and income meet the federal requirements can be eligible for free or reduced meals. Any student is eligible for free snack in a CACFP approved after school snack program. Any child aged 2 to 18, is eligible to receive a free meal, no enrollment required, at the SFS Summer Meal open sites.  In 2017 they served the following meals to students at the following rates: breakfasts 112,196 (free), 15,263 (reduced), and 37,275 (fully paid); lunches: 164,513 (free), 28,067 (reduced), and 79,512 (fully paid); Snacks: 4,656; and Summer Meals: 14,661.

Program Details:  The SNP is interested in acquiring The Charlie Cart Project. This is an integrated program that connects food and cooking with lessons in Math, English Language Arts, Science and Social Studies.  During the Summer Feeding, the SNP will introduce the Charlie Cart and host two events, offering free meals to children on an agricultural production setting. The children will have an opportunity to interface with cart, local farmers, and other education stations.  Local farmers will travel to campsite and offer cooking lessons with campers, using products from their farm. To sustain the Charlie Cart throughout the school year, it would be utilized in the classroom at all grade levels. SNP will work with educators to provide the lessons and events.  This type of engagement will empower students and families to make healthier choices in and outside of the school setting and to expand their knowledge SNP.

Amount Requested: $8,500

Operating Budget: $1,346,950

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