It's no secret that school meals are a major source of nutrition to many children. That’s why leveraging schools as the critical access point for feeding kids is at the core of Project Bread’s work to end child hunger in Massachusetts.
The big changes to make school meals accsesible to all kids in Massachusetts will come through our policy initatives, like School Meals for All, and the recently enacted Act Regarding Student Nutrition. But just as important to the health outcomes of low-income kids is providing support to school districts to operate their challenging school meals programs. Project Bread partners with schools to both feed more kids daily and offer healthier and tastier school meals to fuel student’s success.
Project Bread has worked hard for years curating our Recipe Index, sharing best practices, practical recipes that meet school nutrition standards, and providing direct support to schools in feeding kids. With schools reopened and facing all new challenges to feed kids this fall, Project Bread's Chefs in Schools™ team strategized on how to best provide more support to the dedicated professionals operating school nutrition programs. In October, they launched our newest school meals initiative, the Project Bread School Food Fellowship
Project Bread's School Food Fellowship is a year-long professional development opportunity for school nutrition professionals that combines online training and in-person visits. School nutrition staff participants will be able to network with their cohort, learn how to be leaders on their team, and be able to elevate their skill sets and their mindsets when it comes to getting creative in the kitchen.
The fellowship kicked off October 28, 2021 with 35 fellows from 5 Massachusetts school districts:
The first online training was Customer Service for School Nutrition Staff, a 90-minute interactive workshop especially designed to address the unique needs of providing exceptional customer service in a school food service setting.
One of the recent November training sessions tackled Making the Most of Product Substitutions, a timely response to the recent supply chain issues we’ve seen plaguing schools trying to source different ingredients for planned meals.
As part of the fellowship, Project Bread's Chefs in Schools™ team Sam, Ryan, and Vanessa, will be visiting schools onsite to work with staff on their back- and front-of-kitchen processes. Just the other week, Chef Sam visited Fairview Elementary School in the Chicopee School District and tested out a brand new recipe for Taco Mac and Cheese!
“We are so excited to welcome this talented group of school nutrition professionals to the inaugural year of the Project Bread School Food Fellowship! We’ve been hard at work designing trainings that are relevant, engaging and fun and are looking forward to sharing them with this year’s Fellows. We are grateful to our 5 Fellowship districts for joining us this year, for sharing their own expertise and experiences, and for all of the vital work they do to provide reliable, nutritious school meals to the students in their communities. We know we have a great year ahead of us, and are thrilled to be working with such incredible people!”
With the rest of the academic year to go, we’re looking forward to seeing how our School Food Fellows progress, including what creative recipes and processes they will develop on their own as they lead their teams through this dynamic year. We can't wait for you to meet the Fellows!