Every Student Deserves Good Nutrition

Beaumont ISD kitchen crew provides great nutrition

Proper nutrition is critically important. After all, nutrition affects both physical and mental development. However, food insecurity endangers many students. As a result, the sole reliable food source for many is at school. For example, in a recent press releaseThe Education Trust stated:
Decades of research and data point to school nutrition programs as critical to help children reach their full academic potential. Adequate school nutrition is linked to improved literacy and math scores, improved cognitive function, reduced absenteeism, and long-term positive educational outcomes.

Winston supports students. For example, we’ve partnered with the School Nutrition Foundation. Certainly, the majority of our support is in the form of the Winston Equipment Grant.

The Winston Equipment Grant

Every year Winston donates up to $100,000 in CVap equipment to a deserving school district. Naturally, to be above board, Winston doesn’t select the recipient. Accordingly, the SNF vets applications. Ultimately, SNF chooses the grant recipient.

Beaumont Independent School District in Beaumont, Texas received the 2020 grant. Tiffany Eckenrod, Beaumont’s Director of Child Nutrition, submitted a powerful video detailing her team’s challenges. The grant replaced broken or obsolete equipment. As a result, the quality and quantity of food in Beaumont have improved.

Take a look at some other schools that received the grant. After all, it’s our honor to be active proponents of student nutrition.

Hope You Made it to The Georgia Equipment Academy!

sna cabinet

In a normal (non-pandemic) year our industry gears up for school show season. Naturally, we travel from state to state, participating in each state association’s school nutrition conference. Indeed, it involves catching up with industry peers, mingling with customers, and trying to drum up business. But we find that state shows often focus more on food than hardware. Of course, it’s understandable. Food is the largest expenditure for school nutrition operations.

The Georgia Equipment Academy

However, the Georgia Equipment Academy is different. It’s a three-day biannual conference. Notably, it focuses solely on equipment and technology.

Each conference is broken up into categories. Subsequently, presenters conduct five 30-minute sessions over the course of the academy. Twenty or so decision-makers attend each session. Naturally,  we educate about our equipment and perform live demonstrations. Dealers, reps, manufacturers, and the Georgia School Nutrition Association work hand-in-hand to make the conference a unique experience. Honestly, it is one of our best shows. In fact, it provides directors a distraction-free opportunity to learn about technology that can advance their programs.

Winston Foodservice is proud to participate in the Georgia Equipment Academy. Most recently, we debuted our CVap RTV Retherm Oven in the Hoodless Cooking category. Our partners at The Hansen Group continue to support this incredible show. We hope you have the opportunity to participate!

Retherm Oven at the Georgia Equipment Academy

All You Need is Love and a Moonpie

The Thunderbird Motel

The Georgia School Nutrition State Conference in Savannah

Rolling into the river district in Savannah, Georgia, this sign at the Thunderbird motel catches everyone’s eye.

And while it was great opening conversation, it was the conversation at the conference that really showed off what Georgia School Nutrition Association has to offer.

Georgia School Nutrition is Doing it Right

GSNA boasts the largest membership in the U.S. There’s good reason why.

School District Owned Memberships (otherwise known as SDMs) are memberships that school districts can keep, even if a member leaves or retires from the district. This is a money-saving way of getting more school nutrition personnel to get involved with the program, without another startup cost.

The Thunderbird Motel

The total number of SDMs for 2016 was almost 30,000 strong. And since SDMs currently account for half of the total national School Nutrition Association membership, you can see how a program like this positively impacts the numbers. All state associations are now participating in SDM. Take a look at who’s on top!

I am very proud of Georgia’s membership accomplishments. I served as the Master of Ceremonies at this event and didn’t hesitate to remind them that they are number 1!


A Visit From Famous Folks

This year’s festivities included a visit and performance from Paula Deen. She shared the story of how hard she worked to overcome obstacles in her life to become the owner of The Lady & Sons Restaurant, an author, and TV personality.

Kern Halls, proprietor of Ingenious Culinaryengaged the audience with concepts that enlightened and energized the crowd. Ingenious Culinary is a one stop consultancy for the purpose of consistently successful school food service operations, 

The 2016 conference was titled “Aiming High in The Low Country” and it was Georgia School Nutrition State President Vanessa Hayes’ mantra for the year. Vanessa is one of the most dynamic people you’ll ever meet. Truly a gifted speaker/motivator and awesome director of the Tift County Schools, Georgia Program. Here, she’s pictured with the legendary Josephine Martin, a Georgia citizen who is the living history of modern school nutrition.

Believe me; it was educational, informational, engaging, absorbing, and entertaining. Words don’t do it justice. Check out this shot of the last evening titled, “Throw down in the Lowdown.” A huge seafood boil served buffet style right on the Hutchinson Island side of the river.

Vanessa Hayes and Josephine Martin, both school nutrition icons
Throwdown in the Lowdown seafood boil

School Nutrition: It Takes Support

school nutrition

Working with State and National School Nutrition Associations

Alabama school nutrition show

All state school nutrition associations run with varying degrees of staff, depending on the support they receive. Clearly, one major factor is industry support. Specifically, these are companies that participate at annual exhibits. Frequently they display food products, kitchen equipment, software, and other offerings that can help kitchens run more efficiently. Winston Foodservice is proud to be a sponsoring vendor, on the state and national level.

Typically, each state association tries to mix things up. For many, their state show is the biggest support event of the year.

Frequently the conference culminates with an awards banquet. Clearly this year was exceptional…particularly for me.

I work with a School Nutrition Foundation committee assigned to interview School Nutrition Heroes. Critically, these are people who not only perform their jobs, but also work in the program. They go above and beyond, sometimes with difficult odds and outcomes to help super-serve their communities. These people are honored each year, along with a new group of five at School Nutrition’s Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

Alabama is one of only two states that has two heroes. 2013’s Karen Watson from Sylacauga City Schools (left) and 2016’s Samantha Ingram from Geneva County Schools (right).

Undoubtedly, I’m honored to know them and see the things they’ve accomplished. Clearly, it really is all about support. The membership, the state associations, the vendors, superintendents, principals, PTA, and on and on. A lot of effort from a lot of different places. But I can tell you, in my experience, the reward is awesome.

school nutrition pros gather
school nutrition pre show
school nutrition heros