Advocacy Your Program Wins With Cafeteria Site Visits You know how vital it is to continually promote your school nutrition operation— over and over again—to students, parents, administrators, community stakeholders… and members of Congress. If you feel strongly about wanting to see policy changes to protect the viability of your school meals program, then inviting your national lawmakers to see your cafeteria is an essential strategy. Have you expanded service options, such as summer feeding? Have you partnered with allies to enhance outreach efforts to students? Maybe you have introduced creative breakfast options to tempt students to give the morning meal a try at school. A cafeteria site visit allows you to invite your representatives in Congress to your school and provide them with a firsthand look at how you succeed, despite the obstacles that persist. It will not only give them a snapshot of the impressive work you do every day, but cement your standing as an expert on this subject! SNA has made it easy to take the initial steps in arranging such visits. Head to your computer and type www.schoolnutrition.org/LegislationPolicy/AdvocacyTools and then click on “Cafeteria Visit Toolkit” to access step-by-step guidance. Be persistent— it may take some time to get on the lawmaker’s busy calendar. But once you’ve extended the invitation, you can enter to win one free trip for two to SNA’s 2016 Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C., and participate in the Association’s annual Charge to the Hill! The winner will receive a free registration, plus a complimentary hotel stay and travel, as well as be recognized at LAC. Last year’s Cafeteria Site Visit Sweepstakes was a huge success, and we hope to surpass it with even more members of Congress seeing firsthand the incredible work SNA members accomplish every single day. To enter the “SNA Cafeteria Site Visit Sweepstakes,” you must be an SNA member and submit your entries by December 31. Simply provide proof of the invitation or visit (via email, photos, vido, news stories, etc.) to SNA Director of State Legislative Affairs Nichole Westin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to (301) 686-3115. SNA will accept all invitations dated back to July 1, 2015. Visit http://tinyurl.com/2015SiteVisitSweepstakesRules for additional details. Research Challenges Persist, Despite Positive Push Are the costs of nutrition standard compliance threatening the viability of your school meal program? Since schools began meeting revised federal nutrition regulations in 2012, SNA members have been working hard to promote the changes and new healthy choices to students. But a recent survey indicates it remains an uphill battle in many communities—with dire consequences. SNA’s 2015 School Nutrition Trends Report details responses from 1,100 meal program operators nationwide and reveals that meeting these mandates has harmed the financial health of nearly 70% of school meal operations surveyed. The survey shows that virtually all (99%) responding districts have already implemented or plan to implement at least one of seven listed initiatives to promote healthier choices to students. The most prevalent strategy in place is student taste tests/ sampling, cited by nearly three-quarters of the districts. A majority also have incorporated nutrition education activities, Smarter Lunchroom techniques and farm-to-school initiatives. However, despite these efforts, 58% of respondents reported that student lunch participation has declined under the new standards, and nearly 8 in 10 respondents indicated they are compelled to take negative steps, such as eliminating staff positions or limiting menu choices, to address financial concerns. SNA continually monitors all aspects of the school nutrition arena to remain abreast of the trends, issues and factors, in order to report the results to members. Such research results can be used in your individual decision-making and advocacy efforts. To read the 2015 School Nutrition Trends Report, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/research. School Nutrition Foundation Nominate Your School Nutrition “WOW-Makers” When we hear stories about people doing exceptional things to make a difference, “WOW” is an interjection that always springs to mind! The 2016 Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes will recognize several such extraordinary women and men in the school nutrition profession— the “WOW-Makers” who go beyond their daily responsibilities to make a positive impact in their schools, their communities and the entire profession. On Monday, February 29, 2016, this third annual celebration will take place at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C., during SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC). Help us identify this year’s class of unsung heroes by nominating a School Nutrition Hero for recognition in 2016. The event is an opportunity to honor the best and the brightest in school foodservice, while also supporting the School Nutrition Foundation’s efforts to provide professional development and education, support research to establish “best practices” in school nutrition and offer scholarships to SNA members to advance their formal education. Tell us about the school nutrition WOW-Makers that you know. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/SNF/SpecialEvents to review the nomination criteria and to secure a nomination form. The deadline for nominations is October 23. STEPS Feel Fantastic With F-R-U-I-T! Time flies when you’re feeling good! Last month kicked off the start of the fourth year for the STEPS Challenge, SNA’s personal wellness program for members. After nearly 40 monthly challenges since STEPS was launched, SNA members continue to enjoy the benefits of making healthier choices—one step at a time! Did you walk your way to improved fitness in September? October’s challenge invites you to avoid a month that is notorious for candy and other non-nutritious treats by filling up on fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can award yourself with one point every time you have a serving of fruit. While many people think of apples in fall, it’s also the season for juicy grapes and sweet pears. Keep fruit where you can see it, in a bowl on the counter or in the front part of your refrigerator. A few times this month, make an effort to try a new fruit for the first time—you may just tantalize your snacking habits in a more fruit-eating direction. Guavas, kumquats, persimmons and pomegranates are all less-conventional— but no less delicious—healthy choices. Each month, participate in the challenge and upload your points to the STEPS website. Plus, if you earn 50 or more points, you’ll be eligible to receive a special wellness prize at the end of the 2015-16 challenge: One grand-prize winner will be randomly selected to win an all-expenses-paid trip to SNA’s 2016 Annual National Conference in San Antonio, Texas! Five other winners also will receive prizes. It’s that easy! Make this school year your healthiest yet! Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/Steps to learn more or get started without delay. SNA Meetings & Events OCTOBER 12-16, 2015 National School Lunch Week JANUARY 17-19, 2016 School Nutrition Industry Conference San Diego FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 1, 2016 Legislative Action Conference Washington, D.C. MARCH 7-11, 2016 National School Breakfast Week APRIL 20-23, 2016 National Leadership Conference Baltimore MAY 6, 2016 School Lunch Hero Day JULY 10-13, 2016 Annual National Conference San Antonio, Texas
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