"Best Practices" Manual For
The Norwich Public Schools in Norwich, Connecticut and, in particular, the Greeneville Elementary and Greeneville Intermediate schools are unique schools. These schools have developed a strong feeling for their community. The schools operate in partnership with the Reliance House Route Two Shelter, the Reliance House Laurel Hill House and the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen. The school district solicited community involvement from the Parent Teacher Organization and a local Girl Scout troop in the food recovery project. The USDA funds awarded to the district allowed them to purchase a used van to deliver recovered food to needy agencies. The van enables the school district to collect leftover food every Friday from each school and deliver it to the centers to help feed the hungry.
In addition to the food recovery project, the district established school food collection sites for donations of canned goods throughout the year from parents and the community. They recruited a local farmers market and area businesses to donate excess food to the project. The students wrote to area businesses for food donations and collected money from students and parents to purchase fresh fruits and dairy products for the needy. The schools initiated an annual "fill the bus" event and donated contributions to the soup kitchen. The food collected and donated to the soup kitchen at this event filled two mini busses. Another drive produced three large donations of food that filled two vans. The Reliance House Centers, the Clubhouse and a halfway house received these donations to help feed the needy.
The schools Food Service Director, Sylvia Weathers, attended food shows where she collected a van load of excess food and beverages which were donated to the soup kitchen and Reliance House. Students collected donations of canned goods and turkeys and provided the food to three of Reliance Houses sites. The Reliance House or soup kitchen received the excess food remaining from school activities, picnics, food from the Summer Food Service Program that could not be used the next day, and excess food remaining prior to school vacation.
The New England Dairy and Food Council provided nutrition education to the teachers. The Norwich Sanitation Department taught teachers, parent volunteers, and students about food safety. The school also used USDA money to purchase educational materials for students on CD-ROM, a safety and sanitation game, materials from Pyramid Explorer, and the materials for students to make pyramid collages. Students learned menu planning and nutrition from using the information in Building Good Nutrition, Play It Safe! A Food Safety Unit, Jaw Breakers and Heart Thumpers activities, and the Pyramid Explorers booklets.
A future goal of Norwich Public Schools is to introduce food recovery into the areas private high school curriculum in order to obtain food donations from their school lunch program to help feed the needy. They are looking for a coordinator to maintain continuity and growth in the existing food recovery program. They are also pursuing the feasibility of an independent study for credits from the community college.
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Last Updated: 04/01/08