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Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner


SNF Announces 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 expanded 2020 Equipment Grant Program. Four school nutrition professionals are each being awarded up to $65,000 worth of equipment to benefit their school meal programs through the Winston Equipment Grant, the Vulcan/Hobart Equipment Grant and two Collection Grants (comprised of donations from multiple equipment companies). SNA director members applied for equipment grants in October 2019 for an opportunity to upgrade or improve their kitchen and cafeteria operations to benefit the students they serve.

This year’s recipients are Pauline Welch, District Director of Bensalem Township School District in Bensalem, PA; Carla Tuttle, Foodservice Director of Milford Public Schools in Milford, MA; Ernie Koschmieder, Director of Groton Public Schools, CT; and Tiffany Eckenrod, Director of Child Nutrition for Beaumont ISD in Beaumont, TX. 

The equipment companies will consult with award recipients to customize the awarded equipment based on their unique needs and opportunities to improve kitchens and school meal service programs. 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 are experiencing unprecedented impacts of the current COVID-19 school closures, even as they work to continue emergency feeding programs to support students. These grants provide much-needed resources to update kitchen and food service equipment for long-term benefits when schools return to more typical meal service,” said Patricia Montague, CAE, CEO of SNA/SNF.

Tiffany Eckenrod, Director of Child Nutrition for Beaumont ISD in Beaumont, TX – Winston Equipment Grant Recipient 
An increase in student enrollment at two school campuses has forced the already aging kitchen equipment in Eckenrod’s district to work overtime. Many pieces of equipment can no longer be replaced or fixed due to age. In order to continue providing quality food items to her students, in much larger numbers than before, Eckenrod hopes to use this grant to replace equipment and improve meal production efficiency. 

Ernie Koschmieder, Director of Groton Public Schools, CT- SNF Collection Grant Recipient
With a U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, many schools cater to children and families of those serving the country. One military school currently operates without a cafeteria kitchen altogether. Meals are prepared in another school kitchen and then delivered in portable steam tables on wheels to be served in the cafetorium. Koschmieder hopes that with this grant he will be able to purchase a suite of kitchen equipment for this school, allowing his staff to offer more fresh, on-site cooked food to those students. According to Koschmieder, that extra kitchen would also open up cooking clubs and nutrition education opportunities, similar to programs offered in other Groton schools.

Carla Tuttle, Foodservice Director of Milford Public Schools in Milford, MA – Vulcan/Hobart Equipment Grant Recipient
As Tuttle looked for ways to improve the functionality and efficiency of her school kitchens, 45-year-old convection ovens were at the top of the list. Due to age, the equipment cannot be repaired and is hindering cooking time and temperatures, which creates uneven cooking. She would like to replace eight double-stacked convection ovens with the grant, which she believes would greatly improve food quality. Establishing a 21st century kitchen, she explained, will ensure that all students, no matter of their socioeconomic status, will have access to nutritious, well-prepared food.

Pauline Welch, District Director of Bensalem Township School District in Bensalem, PA, –
SNF Collection Grant Recipient
Welch applied for the equipment grant to help replace aging equipment, between 25 and 30 years old, which her staff uses to feed the districts 6,500 students. In just three years, the district has spent about $200,000 on kitchen equipment repairs. It is her hope that this grant will replace those pieces of aging equipment, including a professional food sealer, milk coolers and possibly meal carts to help start a Breakfast in the Classroom program in one of her schools.

School meal programs operate on extremely tight budgets, funded by cafeteria sales and reimbursements for meals served. With revenue declines due to COVID-19 school closures, many school meal programs lack critical funds to purchase necessary equipment and supplies or cover transportation, temporary staffing and other costs associated with current COVID-19 feeding programs. SNF’s spring 2020 Help Feed School Kids Now! Fundraising campaign will support grants to meet immediate emergency feeding needs. Applications will be accepted starting on Monday, April 13, and awarded on a rolling basis based on the volume of funds raised.

About School Nutrition Foundation:
TThe School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) is an s501(c) 3, sister organization of the School Nutrition Association, awards grants and scholarships to the men and women who feed the nation’s school children.  The 2020 SNF Equipment Grants are made possible by the generous contributions of ITW/FEG/, Winston Foodservice, CMA Dish Machines, Cooler Management, Eloma North America, Innoseal Systems, Jackson Warewashing Systems, Inc., Sterno Delivery, Unox, and Unified Brands.

About School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 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

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