Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner, media@schoolnutrition.org

ARLINGTON, VA – The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), the charitable arm of the non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA), today announced the winners of its 2024 Equipment Grant Program. Nine school nutrition professionals are being awarded grants to benefit their school meal programs, with total grants worth more than $600,000 of equipment. 

Facing continued staffing and financial challenges, school nutrition professionals nationwide applied for SNF Equipment Grants in the 2023-2024 school year. The 2024 SNF Equipment Grants are made possible by the generous contributions of AmTab, Winston Foodservice, ITW Food Equipment Group (Hobart Equipment and Vulcan Equipment), Food Warming Equipment Company, Inc., LTI Inc. and Cambro Manufacturing, Sterno Delivery and Innoseal Systems. 

“Upgrading equipment is vital for schools looking to streamline kitchen operations or increase their ability to scratch-make and freshly prepare healthy menu options for students each school day. We appreciate our industry partners’ unwavering support of school nutrition programs who continue to work through staffing and financial challenges,” said SNF Chair Becky Domokos-Bays, PhD, RD, SNS. 

 

2024 SNF Equipment Grant winners are: 

 

Ray Posillipo, School Lunch Director for North Rockland Central School District, NY 

Recipient of the AmTab K-12 Food Court Furniture Grant, worth up to $200,000 

The district will use the grant to transform the Haverstraw Elementary School cafeteria into a welcoming environment that promotes healthy eating habits, social interaction and overall student well-being. 

“We are so grateful for this grant to upgrade our cafeteria and further set the stage for good nutrition and student wellness at the elementary school,” said Ray Posillipo, School Lunch Director for North Rockland Central School District.  “We will have an opportunity to modernize the furniture and create a more inviting and functional space, supporting our efforts to increase student participation in our school meal program.” 

Joanne Kirven, Director of School Nutrition for Beaufort County District, NC 

Recipient of the SNF Winston Equipment Grant, worth up to $100,000 

Grant money will be used to update equipment with a goal to increase student meal participation in each school by 10 percent. Replacements will also support food quality and continued use of local and farm-to-school foods. Many of the meals are made from scratch with Kirven’s staff currently needing to work around inefficiencies to meet food safety requirements and keep food lines flowing smoothly.  

“Students cannot learn unless they have full tummies and our goal is to always serve the highest quality of food that we can afford,” said Joanne Kirven, Director of School Nutrition for Beaufort County District. “An influx of modern equipment will be a tremendous help.” 

 

Stephanie Stuemke, Food Service Director for Danville Community School Corp., IN

Recipient of the AmTab K-12 Signage, Graphics and Decor Grant, worth up to $100,000 

The grant will enhance the aesthetics of dining areas to be more colorful, modern and visually appealing to align with the cafeteria renovation in the works that will create a bigger and more open footprint. 

“Receiving this grant is a game changer for our goal to increase student participation in school breakfast and lunch programs, which promote healthy eating with an incredible variety of fresh options,” said Stephanie Stuemke, Food Service Director for Danville Community School Corporation. “Updated graphics and signage are important to enhance the environment among students and positively influence how students view our food service program.” 

 

Ashley Smith, School Food Director for Athenian eAcademy District, UT

Recipient of the SNF Vulcan Equipment Grant, worth up to $50,000 

Equipment will be purchased for three of the district’s full-time campuses to transition from a costly food service management company to an in-house school meal program. Equipment in need of dire upgrades include a countertop convection oven and a broken slow cooker/smoker. 

“We are thrilled to receive this grant as financial and time constraints and labor shortages often hinder our ability to provide fresh, nutritious meals,” said Ashley Smith, School Food Director for Athenian eAcademy District. “We are working to expand our meal programs to enhance the well-being of our students and support their academic success.” 

 

Toni Jackson, School Nutrition Director, Trimble County District, KY 

Recipient of the AmTab Outdoor Furniture Grant, worth up to $50,000 

The grant will be used to upgrade Milton Elementary School’s outdoor dining area, which cannot be used for mealtime due to lack of safe eating spaces. The school’s outdoor area is beautiful and has great potential to complement the meal experience at the school, new outdoor equipment made from metal and plastic will enable students to go outside in shaded areas to enjoy their lunch. 

“Providing a safe outside area to eat will encourage even more students to participate in our lunch program,” said Toni Jackson, School Nutrition Director, Trimble County District. “I envision lunch trays filled with local fruits and veggies that kids are just excited to eat while enjoying being outside in the sunshine and fresh air.” 

 

Cindy Kacmarcik, Director of School Nutrition in Greendale Schools, Greendale, WI  

Recipient of the SNF Hobart Equipment Grant, worth up to $35,000  

The grant will allow Greendale Schools to replace their 60-year-old mixer. Also, a new food processor provided through the grant will decrease labor costs and allow staff to add options to school menus utilizing produce from the school gardens. 

“We are so grateful to receive this grant. The upgraded kitchen equipment will decrease labor time and costs while increasing the number of meals prepared from fruits and vegetables grown in our garden at the high school,” said Cindy Kacmarcik, Director of School Nutrition for Greendale Schools. 

 

Penny Curry, School Nutrition Services Director, Frederick County Public Schools, VA 

Recipient of the LTI Equipment Grant, worth up to $30,000 

The grant will help expand access to school breakfast at Millbrook High School with a Grab ‘n Go Cart for quicker service for students making their way to class, while ensuring they are nourished for their day. The district will also upgrade the dining area at Middletown Elementary School, adding signage to showcase food items and adding decorations to promote school spirit and create a more enjoyable atmosphere. 

“Studies show students who eat breakfast are more focused, perform better academically and have fewer discipline issues,” said Penny Curry, School Nutrition Services Director, Frederick County Public Schools. “We anticipate the new Grab ‘n Go Cart will increase participation in our breakfast program and foster healthy eating habits among students.” 

   

Shiloh Ficek and Joanna Duyck of McMinnville School District, OR 

Recipient of the SNF Food Warming Equipment (FWE) Grant, worth up to $25,000  

The grant will allow the McMinnville School District to serve more students efficiently, increasing student participation and helping to alleviate strains on the program budget. The new equipment will support the integration of local foods and promote more scratch cooking, which will support the local community and provide students with more fresh, nutritious options. 

“Our program is challenged by outdated and inefficient kitchen equipment, which often hampers meal preparation and poses concerns for staff,” said Shiloh Ficek, Nutrition Director of McMinnville School District. “The Food Warming Equipment grant provides a critical solution to many of the obstacles we face and ensures a more streamlined cooking environment to enhance menus and recipe development.” 

 

Gina Giarratana, Director of Child Nutrition for Allentown School District, PA 

Recipient of the SNF Collection Grant, worth up to $10,500  

The grant will allow the child nutrition team to improve the quality of meals with the ability to expand hot lunch and breakfast options safely and more efficiently. They will also be able to improve serving aesthetics with new pans and the ability to seal fresh cut fruits. 

“We have had to limit menu offerings for transport schools and look forward to ensuring those students get greater variety of fresh menu options,” said Gina Giarratana, Director of Child Nutrition for Allentown School District.  

The supporting equipment companies will consult with grant recipients to customize 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. 

 

About School Nutrition Foundation:   

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is the charitable arm of the School Nutrition Association (SNA). SNF supports school nutrition professionals by offering grants and scholarships, providing free training opportunities and identifying research, trends and innovations. The 2024 SNF Equipment Grants are made possible by the generous contributions of AmTab, Winston Foodservice, ITW Food Equipment Group (Hobart Equipment and Vulcan Equipment), Food Warming Equipment Company, Inc., LTI Inc. and Cambro Manufacturing, Sterno Delivery and Innoseal Systems. 

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 more information on school meals, visit www.SchoolNutrition.org/SchoolMeals

 

Ad for NSLW24, links to NSLW24 shop site

Related Articles