In 2009, a dedicated band of parents set out to make changes to the meals served at their children’s school. The seed for what would grow into Parents Advocating Healthy Food (PAHF) was planted at Grant Elementary School. Now PAHF is boosted by district-wide parent involvement. We strive to advocate for positive change in the food program while remaining in partnership with SMMUSD children, parents, school staff and officials.
Basic facts about Food and Nutrition Services at SMMUSD:
--Current enrollment at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is 10,488 students yet only 2,791 students on average eat a school meal each day.
--Meals are served every day at every school.
--Meals are reasonably priced: elementary breakfast is $1.50 and lunch is $3.50, and middle and high school breakfast is $1.75 and lunch is $4.00; eligible students may receive meals free or at a reduced price of $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch.
--The Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) menus and a la carte food items meet standards set by Federal and State regulations, including the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 and Smart Snacks in Schools as well as the District’s Wellness Policy.
--The overall budget for the FNS is $3.4 million of which the majority goes to salaries. Income for the FNS comes from the reimbursement paid by district families, from the federal government and from the District’s General Fund.
Our district wants to improve the food program and is aware of and trying to respond to challenges. They see a need for more student-driven menus, healthier options, vegetarian choices and more fresh fruit and vegetables. One of the main challenges to achieving better food is replacing the outdated kitchen equipment in nearly all the school kitchens.
Food and Nutrition Services and PAHF want more of our learners to be excited about eating meals at school. Healthier and more appealing food served at school = more children choosing the school meal = more reimbursement or income into the program = a stronger overall food program at SMMUSD.