Rachel Murphy, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Syracuse City School District (Syracuse CSD), understands the value of quality nutrition for children’s healthy development and academic performance; she explains, “Students who are well nourished perform better in school, have higher attendance, and have fewer behavioral issues.” Knowing that 1 in 5 NYS kids may not have access to enough healthy food, Murphy welcomed the opportunity to expand the district’s nutrition programs by serving afterschool suppers through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
In the 2016-2017 school year, Syracuse CSD began serving suppers at two program sites that had previously served snacks through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), a move that students and afterschool program staff welcomed. Murphy explains, “Afterschool programs traditionally provide snacks for students; however, snack offerings are limited to two components, which may not provide adequate nutrition to sustain energy. The supper program allows our schools to offer students multiple components, including milk, whole grains, protein-rich foods, and fresh fruits and vegetables, providing a more balanced, wholesome, and nutritious meal.”
Switching existing snack programs to supper programs is a sure way to better serve students. […] Students who are well nourished perform better in school, have higher attendance, and have fewer behavioral issues.
—Rachel Murphy, RDN Director, Food and Nutrition Services, Syracuse City School District
The following year, Syracuse CSD expanded their supper program to serve eight program sites, and Murphy is enthusiastic about growing their meal service even further in the future. She encourages other schools to consider moving from snacks to suppers, saying, “Switching existing snack programs to supper programs is a sure way to better serve students. The supper program provides a nearly four times higher reimbursement rate, which allows us to serve higher quality food and a more balanced meal to our students.”
Syracuse CSD also sponsors the Summer Food Service Program to nourish kids year-round and participates in the Community Eligibility Provision to provide free school breakfast and lunch to all of the district’s students. Learn more about these options at SummerMealsNY.org and SchoolMealsHubNY.org.