Billy Shore Inspires the Audience at ANC 2014


At yesterday’s Second General Session at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC), the mood was naturally festive as hundreds of attendees started off the third official day of the conference by participating in the STEPS Wellness Challenge Event. Led by “The Biggest Loser” star Ali Vincent, SNA members participated in an invigorating 45 minutes session of line dances, such as the Macarena, the Hustle and the Chicken Dance!

SNA President Leah Schmidt, began Tuesday’s program by recapping some of the winners from Sunday’s Red Carpet Awards Ceremony:

  • National Heart of the Program Winner: Brenda Thompson, Palm Springs Unified School District, California
  • The National Louise Sublette Award of Excellence in School Nutrition: Gail Gramling, Torrance Unified School District, California
  • Outstanding Director of the Year Award: Lauren Teng, Huntington Beach Union High School District, California
  • Industry Member of the Year Award: Stacy Sagowitz, School Nutrition Services

Additionally, SNA Past President, and current Chair of the Nominating Committee, Sandra Ford, announced the candidates for the 2015-2017 SNA Board of Directors, Vice President and Nominating Committee.

Ford reminded the attendees that, as members of SNA, they can shape the future of the Association by casting their vote. Again this year, SNA will hold the election online using a secure online voting website. Detailed biographies of the candidates will be posted on SNA’s website this fall with voting running from October 15 through November 15. Results will be announced soon after.

Next, Dr. Janey Thornton, PhD, SNS, Deputy Undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services provided a USDA update and commented on the hard work of SNA members. "I'd like to tell you how humbled I am to stand before you today to applaud the incredible work you've done and continue to do in implementing the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act," she remarked. "I realize this has not been easy, but you've worked together and worked with USDA to move forward."

Wendy Weyer, SNA’s Public Policy and Legislation Committee Chair, and Cathy Schuchart, SNA Staff Vice President of Child Nutrition and Policy, detailed SNA’s advocacy efforts, including a recap of this year’s Legislative Action Conference, a three-year legislative plan that carries through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act scheduled for 2015 and forward into its implementation, as well as SNA in the news, information to invite federal, state and local legislators to join you for school lunch and the Cafeteria Site Visit Sweepstakes.

“As I mentioned earlier, SNA is very fortunate to have such engaged and passionate school nutrition professionals taking an active interest in advocacy efforts,” remarked Weyer, referring in part to donations taken throughout the ballroom in support of SNA’s Political Action Committee (PAC). “Your contributions are critical to our efforts in advocating on your behalf.”

Keynote speaker Billy Shore, founder and chief executive officer of Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit committed to ending childhood hunger in America, discussed the No Kid Hungry program. Among other notable achievements, Shore was most recently appointed to the National Commission on Hunger by Nancy Pelosi.

In Shores's address, he detailed that hunger is a solvable problem and that hungry kids lack access to the many programs available. Since the summer of 2011, No Kid Hungry has helped bring more than 34 million additional meals to kids who need them. His inspirational speech reminded ANC participants why they are so dedicated to feeding the nation’s children. "You can be the voice that says we cannot be a strong America with weak children," he said.

Earlier in the day, many conference-goers took the opportunity to attend two hot topic sessions:

  • Serving Up Smart Snacks in Schools – Focused on the new rule, including resources to help serve up fresh and filling snacks in your schools this fall.
  • Professional Standards are Coming: Are You Ready? – Detailed the provisions of Section 306 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (the establishment of professional standards for foodservice).

Some of the other education sessions held on Tuesday included “Effective Use of USDA Foods Entitlements and Banks,” “Online Tools Lend a Helping Hand” and “Public Speaking: Communicate Comfortably with Passion, Not Fear.”

Are you a fan? Do you tweet? Join in on the conference-related conversations happening now on SNA’s Facebook page and @SchoolLunch on Twitter. You can also add hashtag #ANC14 to your own tweets to have your tweet show up in the conference Twitter stream.

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