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School Meals Program Outreach Toolkit


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Beneficial Information

To: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Sponsors

Number: NSD-SNP-14-2013

Attention: Food Services Directors, Business Officials

Date: August 2013

Subject: School Meals Program Outreach Toolkit

The Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is pleased to announce the launch of the School Meals Program Outreach Toolkit (Outreach Kit). The Outreach Kit is available through our California Professional Nutrition Education and Training (Cal-Pro-NET) Center partnership and can be accessed on the San Jose State University (SJSU) Outreach Toolkit Web page at http://www.nufs.sjsu.edu/calpronet/outreachtoolkit.

In January 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released updated nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The HHFKA authorized policy and funding for USDA core nutrition programs and mandated the most sweeping changes to nutrition standards in the NSLP and SBP in at least 30 years. Under the new nutrition standards, schools must offer students more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and students must take at least one-half cup of fruit and/or vegetable at lunch.

The Outreach Kit is an online resource created to help food service directors (FSD) promote the work they are doing to serve delicious, fresh meals to California school children. The Outreach Kit Web page provides a variety of no-cost/low-cost resources to promote school nutrition program, improve community perception, and increase meal participation. FSDs can use a variety of materials designed for marketing your program to staff, students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the community.

Background
Through the Training and Education Needs Assessment, the California Department of Education (CDE) learned that FSDs wanted resources to market their meal programs. The CDE contracted with the Cal-Pro-NET Center at SJSU to develop the Outreach Kit. The Outreach Toolkit Advisory Council provided guidance on its development through a series of face-to-face meetings and conference calls. The advisory council was comprised of FSDs from small, medium, and large school districts, local partners/advocacy groups, and Nutrition Services Division (NSD) staff.
How to Use the Outreach Kit

The Outreach Kit includes something for every district, regardless of size or finances. You will find it easy to get started:

  • Review the Web page for a complete listing of what is included.
  • Use the easy Steps to Developing YOUR Outreach Plan link to focus on your plan.
  • Select the online resource links to help you implement your plan.
You do not have to be a marketing expert to work with the resources in the Outreach Kit. Each resource comes with suggestions for use. Most resources are in Microsoft Word, which can be edited to include your school information or logo.
Marketing
Summer is a good time to plan for the start of school in the fall. Consider all the changes you undertook to implement the new menu in order to comply with the new regulations. You know what you have done, but do the school staff, the principals, the parents, and the community? You can use the Outreach Kit to share the good work you have done to enhance the school lunch program and ultimately increase your student participation.
Featured Districts
On the Outreach Kit Web page, you will find featured districts showcasing easy-to-use ideas to promote your program. The Web page will highlight different districts each month. The first featured district is Twin Rivers Unified in which FSD Jill Van Dyke shares information about their new mascot to promote school meals. Their SEAL mascot was developed by Nutritionist Lisa Vorce, Registered Dietitian, and has been a huge success in delivering their nutrition message to students. The marketing plan, using the mascot, has made students more aware of the importance of eating healthy food. We hope you will use the Outreach Kit in your marketing and outreach efforts and let us know so we can feature your district in future months.
Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Linda Sweeney, Cal-Pro-NET Center Coordinator, by phone at 408-924-3125 or by e-mail at linda.sweeney@sjsu.edu, or Lisa Melhouse, Nutrition Education Consultant, by phone at 916-323-2488 or by e-mail at lmelhouse@cde.ca.gov.  

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, October 13, 2014

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