Edwards, USDA, and PGCPS Highlight Initiative to Increase Schools’ Ability to Provide Healthy Meals to Students

001_el_de_002Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4)

August 3, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Katie Wilson, and Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Prince George’s County Public Schools, Joan Shorter, visited William Hall Academy in Capitol Heights, Maryland.  The visit highlighted the USDA’s “Team Up for School Nutrition Success” Initiative, a targeted technical assistance and peer-to-peer mentoring program for schools nationwide, aimed at improving the ability of schools to provide healthy meals to school children.  The group saw firsthand how the program is being implemented at William Hall Academy, ate lunch with students, and toured the kitchen facilities.

“Today’s visit was a great opportunity to see federal and local partners working together to improve the availability of nutritious meals for students,” Edwards said.  “As we know, childhood hunger doesn’t take summers off; it is an ongoing threat in communities throughout Maryland and the entire country, one that is detrimental to a child’s growth and development.  I was grateful to see the operation that Prince George’s County Public Schools, in conjunction with the USDA, has in place to have nutritious meals served on site and delivered.  I thank USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Katie Wilson, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Prince George’s County Public Schools, Joan Shorter, and everyone involved in making these programs a success.”

“Today over 95 percent of schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs have successfully implemented the updated nutrition standards into their school meals. For schools to continue moving forward, it is important for USDA to work with partners like the Institute of Child Nutrition and committed members of Congress,” said Katie Wilson, Deputy Undersecretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “By providing training and peer-to-peer mentorship through the Team Up For School Nutrition Success initiative, schools have the opportunity to make positive strides in providing healthy school environments with financial stability and strong student meal participation.”

“It was great to welcome Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards, USDA Deputy Under Secretary, Dr. Katie Wilson, and representatives from the MD State Department of Education to William Hall Elementary School,” said Joan Shorter, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Prince George’s County Public Schools. “Today’s event was to kick off the Institute of Child Nutrition’s (formerly NFSMI) Team Up for School Nutrition Success program, which connects experienced school food service directors with new directors in a mentoring partnership.  I look forward to participating in the program as this mentorship will help school food service programs nationwide by sharing expertise and the necessary knowledge for child nutrition success in all areas, to include menu planning, food safety, and financial management. “

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