Leading Healthy School Meal Provider Shares Best Practices for Running COVID-era School Meal Program

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After serving thirty million meals throughout the first four months of the pandemic, Revolution Foods is sharing recommendations for districts to operate safe, healthy and compliant school meal programs this fall, whether in person or remote.

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"From nutrition to physical and emotional health services, our school partners do far more than educate,” states Kristin Richmond, CEO of Revolution Foods. “At Revolution Foods, we’re working directly with districts to ensure that school meal services continue and that no child goes hungry.”

Districts and charter networks across the country must ensure students have access to critical school meals as part of their 2020-21 reopening plan. With fourteen years of experience and now delivering two million healthy meals per week to students and families, Revolution Foods and its school partners have pioneered how to successfully and safely produce and deliver congregate setting meals, meals-to-go, and a hybrid distribution model (respectively), before and during COVID-related shutdowns.

Distributing healthy school meals is a key piece of the puzzle as districts and charters plan for an unusual and disrupted school year. Considerations include where students will eat and when, how to get multiple days worth of meals home, and how to maintain menu variety so students will continue to enjoy their meals. Additionally, federal guidelines have been ever-changing over the past four months, making it difficult for school leaders to keep up to ensure that schools can be reimbursed for these meals.

Building off their successful creation and distribution of healthy school meals throughout the pandemic, Revolution Foods is highlighting best practices from leading school districts as well as sharing what they’ve learned in their new white paper, Reinventing School Meal Program for Health and Flexibility During COVID-19. Revolution Foods is a national leader in designing, producing, and delivering meals in a manner that reflects the current COVID-related requirements, including:

  • Individual (unitized) meals: individually-sealed packaged meals that have compliant portions for distance learning, dining in classroom, or dining in cafeteria.
  • Multi-day meal boxes: up to one week’s worth of reimbursable, freshly prepared, individually-sealed meals with multilingual at-home heating guides to support distance learning.

San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), a long-term partner of Revolution Foods, was able to successfully operate grab-and-go meal sites throughout the spring and summer. They distributed about 125,000 meals every week to their students and families. This preparation has set them up well for their remote learning school model this fall.

“We recognize that our meals are the sole source of food security for many families. We understand the gravity of what it means when schools close during the school year and over the summer — that children cannot access food and don’t eat,” states Orla O’Keeffe, Chief of Policy and Operations for SFUSD. “That’s why, as soon as we knew our schools were closing (for an unknown period of time), we rethought how we’d nourish our kids.”

Revolution Foods works with hundreds of districts, charter networks, and community feeding programs across the country, providing two million healthy student and family meals every week. Now, as districts look to a school year full of unknowns, a strong meal partner who understands both the importance of healthy eating and has the experience and scale to support districts as they react to changes in education models is vital.

“Schools have become a primary source of child wellness. From nutrition to physical and emotional health services, our school partners do far more than educate,” states Kristin Richmond, CEO of Revolution Foods. “These vital services can’t just stop even as our schools remain fully or partially closed. At Revolution Foods, we’re working directly with districts to ensure that school meal services continue and that no child goes hungry.”

Whether schools open in full campus mode, 100% remote, or a hybrid model, districts and charter schools need a strong partner who can flex in tandem with them based on local conditions, working together to nourish students and help them achieve their full potential.

About Revolution Foods
Founded in 2006 by two businesswomen and moms on a mission to build lifelong healthy eaters, Revolution Foods set out to solve the problem of limited access to healthy meals for every child in America. The company’s innovative approach began with serving freshly prepared, healthy meals to students in schools nationwide, and the company has now designed, produced and delivered 430 million kid-inspired, chef-crafted meals to sites across 18 states, including childhood education centers, districts, charter schools, and community and after school youth programs. Revolution Foods’ experience shows—and studies support—that nutritious foods drive improved health and academic outcomes. A recent impact assessment conducted by KKS Advisors on behalf of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation found schools that serve Revolution Foods saw an improvement of 13.1% in English Language Arts (ELA) test results. Together with best-in-class community partners such as FoodCorps, Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation and Wellness in the Schools (WITS), Revolution Foods equips parents, teachers and students with valuable tools and resources to continue positive nutrition education beyond the lunch line. Revolution Foods is a certified B Corporation, awarded as one of B Corps’ 2019 Best for the World honorees, that aims to drive systems change, from policy and food systems evolution to driving positive student academic and health outcomes to build a brighter future for our nation’s youth and families. For more information, visit revolutionfoods.com.

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Alyssa Miller

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