Recap: Virtual Town Hall on School Meals During COVID-19 and Beyond

School food is essential—whether or not school is in session. This month, FoodCorps joined Civil Eats, World Central Kitchen, and Bridgeton Public Schools for a virtual Town Hall about how COVID-19 has impacted school nutrition and what the future holds. Watch the full Town Hall below. 

School Meals During COVID-19 and Beyond

COVID-19 has illustrated how national emergencies exacerbate already pervasive economic and racial inequality in America. When schools closed in March, their cafeterias didn’t, as many families relied on those lunches and breakfasts to ensure their children were nourished each day. This meal distribution has continued since then into the summer months showing how school meals are a critical safety net for millions of families. As America navigates back to school season amid a pandemic and recession, school meals and emergency relief play a crucial role in fighting rising food insecurity both now and in the future.

Posted by FoodCorps on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

More about our Town Hall moderator and panelists:

Nadra Nittle (moderator) is a senior reporter for Civil Eats, where she has reported on a wide range of topics, including school lunch, food waste, and labor issues. Elsewhere, she has written about a wide range of issues, including arts and entertainment, health, business, and public policy. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, NBC News, Vox, The Atlantic, and other outlets. She lives in Los Angeles.

Morgan McGhee is FoodCorps’ Director of School Nutrition Leadership. As a public health dietitian, Morgan has spent her career serving America’s youth in Texas, California, and Virginia as a menu planner, nutrition educator, and food services operations specialist. Morgan is a strong advocate for a nation where all children have access to sustainable healthy food that links the cafeteria to the classroom. She passionately believes that a school nutrition department can be a change agent in the community when innovative partnerships are coupled with dynamic leadership. In her spare time, Morgan enjoys exploring the great outdoors and finding self-expression through dance.

Allison Sosna is the Director of Nutrition for World Central Kitchen. She develops context specific solutions to improve nutrition, while also incorporating culinary nutrition programs to long-term programs. Allison holds an MPH in Nutrition, has spent a decade in the food sector as a chef having attended culinary school at L’Academie De Cuisine, and is the founder of MicroGreens, a non-profit dedicated to teaching students to cook on a SNAP budget. When not fighting food insecurity, she likes to spend time with her corgi, Picci.

Warren DeShields is Director of Food Services at Bridgeton Public Schools in New Jersey. Warren Deshields is deeply devoted to the students in Bridgeton. Since his original position began in September 2000 as Bridgeton High’s cafeteria manager, Warren has worked his way up to Director of Food Services for Bridgeton Public Schools (April 2016). One of the first programs he instituted as the Director was the CACFP Dinner Program which serves over 1,200 meals daily. He works with Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly on various school nutrition initiatives including the SFSP and alternative ways to feed the students in the community. He is the past president of the NJ School Nutrition Association and visits Washington, DC, annually to speak to lawmakers on continued federal support and funding for the Child Nutrition Program.

It’s going to take us, as school food service directors and advocates for school nutrition, to let our legislators know that we need help and we need it now.” —Warren DeShields, Director of Food Services, Bridgeton Public Schools

Want to support school nutrition today?  Take action! Take FoodCorps’ #PledgeForSchoolFood and we’ll let you know when you can raise your voice for policies that support healthy schools and healthy kids. 

Take the #PledgeForSchoolFood