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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
SNF Announces 2022 Equipment Grant Recipients
ARLINGTON, VA – The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), the charitable arm of the non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA), today announced winners of its 2022 Equipment Grant Program. Six school nutrition professionals are being awarded grants for their school meal programs. Each grant is worth between $10,000 and $100,000 of equipment.
Facing continued challenges stemming from the pandemic, school nutrition professionals around the country applied for SNF Equipment Grants in the fall of 2021, hoping for an opportunity to upgrade or improve their kitchen and cafeteria operations to benefit the students they serve. The 2022 SNF Equipment Grants are made possible by the generous contributions of Winston Foodservice, ITW Food Equipment Group (Hobart Equipment and Vulcan Equipment), Food Warming Equipment Company, Inc., Innoseal Systems, Cambro Manufacturing, Sterno Delivery, Sterling Manufacturing and TekVisions, Inc.
The winners are:
Sandra Stokes, NS, School Nutrition Director, Petersburg City Public Schools in Petersburg, VA
Recipient of the SNF Winston Equipment Grant, worth up to $100,000
Most of the equipment in Petersburg City Schools cafeterias is over 20 years old, and due to labor shortages nutrition staff must cook all of the food for lunches at once instead of batch cooking. The grant will allow Stokes to replace two of the middle school’s hot holding stations and replace portable heated cabinets in three elementary schools. “Getting these new warmers for our schools will be a giant step towards giving these kids more hot, nutritious meals they are entitled to. It will be nice to have equipment which is reliable,” said Stokes.
Caitlin Kite, Nutrition Director in Washington County Schools in Jonesborough, TN
Recipient of the SNF Vulcan Equipment Grant, worth up to $35,000
This grant will improve safety, functionality and energy efficiency in the district’s kitchens, where some ovens are so old that food bakes unevenly. Staff must constantly open and close oven doors and rotate trays multiple times to avoid burning, adding precious time to lunch preparations. The grant will also allow help improve menus. “With the proper equipment, we will be able to develop recipes using vegetables that don’t always come in a can,” said Kite. “We would rather be able to steam vegetables instead of boil them to retain the highest level of nutrients possible.”
Lori MacGregor-Monte, Food Service Director of Grafton School District in Grafton, WI
Recipient of the SNF Food Warming Equipment (FWE) Equipment Grant, worth up to $25,000
This grant will help improve breakfast and lunch offerings to increase school meal participation among the 2,000 students in Grafton School District. School nutrition staff have struggled with a serving warmer that leaks, a refrigerator designed for home usage and other equipment that can no longer be fixed. “We really want to be able to provide more choices to the students. We hope that with new warming equipment we can offer a hot breakfast option next year,” said MacGregor-Monte.
Alexandra TePoel-DeWitt, Director of Food Services for Victor Central School District in Victor, NY
Recipient of the SNF Hobart Equipment Grant, worth up to $20,000
Due to pandemic cutbacks, the nutrition department lost funding to purchase much needed equipment. No major pieces of kitchen equipment have been replaced since a capital improvement project in 1998. “Some of our equipment is inoperable due to safety issues. The condition of some of the equipment slows down production time in the kitchen,” said TePoel-DeWitt. The grant will also support the district’s farm to school program expansion. New equipment will assist with processing the freshest ingredients from local farms.
Toni Jackson, Nutrition Director of Trimble County Schools in Bedford, KY
Recipient of the SNF Collection Grant, worth up to $10,000
New insulated cooler bags will better serve children who eat meals in the classroom as part of the district’s the pre-school and Head Start programs. Jackson also looks forward to giving one of her cafeterias, built in 1962, a refresh. “These new pieces of equipment will help us reach our goal of modernization,” said Jackson. She believes the equipment grant will be a morale booster for employees. “I can predict that this new equipment will make my staff happier. A happier staff makes better food and better food makes for happier kids,” said Jackson.
Cynthia Nesselroade, Food Service Director of Lewis County Schools in Weston, WV
Recipient of the SNF Collection Grant, worth up to $10,000
Supply chain disruptions and equipment repair and replacement costs have taken a toll on the meal program budget. Nesselroade will utilize the grant to replace equipment at her district’s middle and high schools, which each serve over 700 students. “We are excited to have equipment that won’t be breaking down frequently, as the older items we have in our kitchen do. That will help our staff make more items from scratch for the children too,” said Nesselroade.
The equipment companies will consult with grant recipients to customize the awarded equipment based on their unique needs and opportunities to improve school meal services. Equipment could include ovens, mixers, slicers, food processors, coolers and other refrigeration, holding cabinets, dish machines, package sealing equipment, steamers, insulated tote bags and more.
School meal programs operate on extremely tight budgets, funded by cafeteria sales and reimbursements for meals served. Pandemic disruptions and rising costs due to supply chain and labor issues have left many school meal programs without critical funds to purchase necessary equipment for their cafeterias and kitchens.
“We are thankful for our industry partners who recognize there is a great need to help our schools upgrade kitchens. Not only have school nutrition programs been persevering through staffing shortages and supply chain challenges, many have also faced budget restrictions while still ensuring students have access to healthy meals each school day,” said SNF Chair, JoAnne Robinett, MSA, SNS.
About School Nutrition Foundation:
The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is a 501(c)3, sister organization of the School Nutrition Association. SNF awards grants and scholarships to the men and women who feed the nation’s school children. It also provides professional development resources including training and school nutrition research. The 2022 SNF Equipment Grants are made possible by the generous contributions of Winston Foodservice, ITW Food Equipment Group (Hobart Equipment and Vulcan Equipment), Food Warming Equipment Company, Inc., Innoseal Systems, Cambro Manufacturing, Sterno Delivery, Sterling Manufacturing and TekVisions, Inc.
About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 50,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. For morei nformation on school meals, visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals.