As we celebrate the season of thanks in the month of November, we, the Urban School Food Alliance, are forever grateful to our partners who share our same mission: by making healthy, high quality food accessible to our 3.3 million students. We aim to revolutionize the school food market by streamlining food purchase, thereby maximizing our joint purchasing power for the 584 million meals we serve annually.
We are thankful for our breakfast programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom, Breakfast After the Bell and Second Chance Breakfast, among others. It has been well documented that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies show that skipping breakfast puts students at an academic disadvantage because they do not have the nourishment necessary to perform well in school. Research finds that eating breakfast leads to lower fat intake and less snacking throughout the day, which could then reduce the incidence of weight gain in children.
We are thankful to our school food service colleagues who work tirelessly day in and day out to prepare and serve the healthiest meals possible to our students. They’re there for these young people daily – not only for breakfast and lunch – but also for supper, summer meal service as well as school breaks and natural disasters when campuses are not in session.
We are thankful to our local farmers. We are more committed than ever to sourcing food locally whenever possible. We have set a goal to increase our local food purchase by at least five percent by the 2021-2022 school year – amounting to a total of $100 million in local procurement annually. We aim to stimulate local economies through local purchasing, while providing the freshest, highest quality foods possible to our students.
We work closely with these groups and their experts to improve food standards at the local and national level. Through our collaboration, we exponentially increase our influence and impact in the school food service arena – all for the health and wellness of students.