January/February 2016 Fresh Focus

Here at CNOP, we're settling in for a (hopefully) short winter. And we're certainly not going to be taking a long winter's nap. Here are some of the most important goings-on to be aware of in the next couple months.

SFSP Kickoff

We love the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), so this year we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day a little bit early by throwing our annual SFSP kickoffat the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough on February 10th. As usual, there’ll be something for everyone, from prospective new sponsors, to long-time veterans, to community partners whose outreach steers kids to meal sites. First and foremost, we’re very honored and excited that Audrey Rowe, the head of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will be joining us as keynote speaker. We will hosting a special session on workshopping frequently-arising problems in SFSP meal service, so if you have a problem you'd like to submit please email us!

Other breakout topics include throwing your own summer meals kickoff, sourcing local food in SFSP, and more sessions to be named soon. Be sure to check the event page for further details, and of course, don’t forget to register. Lastly, the event will include breakfast and lunch! 

ESE SFSP Trainings 

As we get ready for this summer’s SFSP, keep in mind that the ESE has some important trainings coming up for new and returning sponsors. 

First up, the SFSP grant webinar will take place on February 11th from 1-2:30 PM. Get guidance on how to apply for the ESE’s start-up and expansion grants for new and returning sponsors. 

For sponsors looking for help with their sponsor application, there will be a series of three SFSP Application and Technical Assistance open houses at the ESE’s offices in Malden during which people are free to drop in and get help from ESE staff. These open houses will last from 9am to 3pm on May 5th, May 19th, and May 24th. 

The annual SFSP review and updates webinar will take place on May 11th and May 18th, with all sponsors encouraged to tune in to one of the sessions. The webinar will cover changes in policy and civil rights compliance. 

Lastly, the ESE will be hosting regional full-day workshops in several different locations around the state to give sponsors that final bit of preparation they need to run a spectacular summer program. New sponsors should contact the ESE to select the best training for their staff. Find more information about each training and register here.

National School Breakfast Week 

National School Breakfast Week, which will take place on March 7-11, is a great chance to boost the profile of your program. Holding a celebration (pancake breakfast, anyone?) or decorating the cafeteria or hallways attracts students’ attention and may earn you some new customers. In fact, 96% of SNA members report that breakfast participation increases during this annual celebration. If you want to go further, try making a pitch to local press about your crucial role in keeping students energized, or do some taste tests of potential menu additions. We would love to hear about anything you’re doing for the occasion and how#schoolbreakfast is making an impact at your school. Let us know through email, onfacebook, or twitter. Also head to SNA’s NSBW website for outreach materials, sample press releases, contests, and more.

New this year is our #whyschoolbreakfast contest, in which students are encouraged to submit a 15 second video or photo explaining why breakfast is important to them and/or their favorite part of school breakfast. Submissions can be emailed or shared with us on facebook or twitter. Don't forget to tag us so we know you submitted, and use the #whyschoolbreakfast hashtag!

Recipe of the Month: Power Purple Bean Wrap 

Our recipe of the month comes right from our backyard. It was submitted by the students of Newman Elementary School in Needham, MA, as part of the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition, which took place in 2010 and was a part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. The team which created the recipe included a local chef, six students, and two parents. It pairs beans with purple cabbage and avocado for an unconventional but delicious vegetarian entrée. Download it here.