September/October 2017 Fresh Focus

Welcome back to school! This year, we're excited to provide technical assistance and help more schools increase participation in breakfast programs. Whether you're looking to start or change a program, want materials to promote breakfast in your school, or have a question about regulations, CNOP can help. Send us an email at today!

Read on for some highlights from summer, grant and professional development opportunities, and a great new resource for transforming your school food!

Summer Highlights

School may have started, but before summer is officially over, we want to highlight some of the great work done on the Summer Food Service Program. This summer, sponsors, sites, and volunteers from across Massachusetts helped feed children at more than 1,000 summer meal sites. Here are just a few of the highlights from this summer.

Summer Food Rocks Tour: In July, Congressman Jim McGovern held the fourth annual Summer Food Rocks Tour, visiting sites in Worcester, Athol, Greenfield, and Leominster to see the SFSP firsthand. Along the way, he met with community members at Town Hall meetings to discuss important SFSP topics. “For millions of low-income students, summer break isn’t as carefree as it should be," said Rep. McGovern. "During the school year, they have access to reliable, healthy school breakfasts and school lunches. But, when school’s out, these children – and their families – are often left scrambling to find enough to eat. In the richest country in the world, there’s no excuse for any of our kids to go hungry. I am thankful to have so many strong partners at the USDA and here in Massachusetts to keep this program strong. Together, we’re helping to ensure that all our students get the healthy meals they need to continue to learn and grow all year round.”

3 children hold up t-shirts for the Summer Food Rocks tour

Spotlighting an Outstanding Teen Volunteer: As part of the Summer Food Rocks tour, CNOP visited the Riverside Village housing development in Leominster. While there, we met with Karina Perez, a 13-year-old volunteer who has been coming to the site with her mother since she was little. Karina, along with other teen volunteers, helps to pass out meals to the younger children who come to the site, and enjoys a meal herself after her shift is done. Read more about Karina here.

Karina Perez poses with her mother and staff from the Spanish-American Center

Books and Bites at Mattapan Library: In August, CNOP partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Food Access and Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition to host a summer meals celebration at the Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library. As a new site this year, the Mattapan library hit the ground running, serving more than 40 children and teens each day.

Children eat lunch while others practice yoga at the Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library

Save the Date for next year's SFSP Kickoff!

It's never too early to start planning for next summer. Save the date for our 2018 SFSP Kickoff, happening on February 13, 2018. The conference will bring together sponsors, collaborators, and partners to brainstorm and plan for another summer of serving meals. More details to come!

Grant opportunity: New England Dairy & Food Council

New England Dairy & Food Council is offering Fuel Up to Play 60 grants to improve healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in schools. The grant deadline is November 1, 2017, and schools can apply for up to $4,000. Find full qualifications and the application here.

Apply to Massachusetts First Farm to School Institute

Massachusetts Farm to School is beginning a year-long professional learning opportunity for schools and districts across Massachusetts. Participants receive Farm to School program development, school-year technical assistance, networking opportunities, and teacher and staff professional development. The application deadline is September 26. Apply here!

Project Bread's Chefs in Schools Program Goes Digital

Project Bread has been working with schools districts across Massachusetts to create healthy food changes in their school food programs for more than 10 years. Our new website,, shares key learnings, resources, and recipes for schools, parents, and community members. Get a sneak peek at the new site with the recipe below!

Chefs in Schools Menu Byte: Loaded with Zucchini Muffins

Use up the last of summer's zucchini harvest with these loaded zucchini muffins. These muffins are the perfect start to a healthy breakfast. Find the full recipe on the new Chefs in Schools website!