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ICSD Receives Award for Participation in 30% Lunch Initiative; Jennifer Doolittle Named 2021 New York Hunger Hero

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Last month, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets awarded the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) $14,724 for our successful participation in the 2019-2020 30% Lunch Initiative.

The 30% Lunch Initiative increases the reimbursement schools receive for lunches for any district that purchases at least 30 percent of its ingredients for school meals from New York farms. The goal of the program is to support farmers in the state while also awarding districts for serving health, locally grown food to students.

The ICSD can use the monetary award for training food service staff, conducting outreach to producers, educating students, and purchasing equipment.

In addition to ICSD Child Nutrition receiving the 30% Lunch Initiative award, one of the department’s staff members, Jennifer Doolittle, was named a 2021 Hunger Hero by NO KID HUNGRY New York. Per the Hunger Heroes Hall of Fame page:

Jen, School Lunch Manager at Boynton Middle School Central Kitchen, is beloved by students and staff. She is the heart of Ithaca City’s nutrition operations and has been a dedicated employee in the child nutrition department for 24 years. During normal school operations, she coordinates food orders, cooking, and deliveries for 11 of the schools in the district. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, her efforts have ramped up significantly. In the past year, she has coordinated thousands of meals for home delivery, in-person school meals, and pick-up meals. Rain or snow, you can find her outside making sure that the correct meals get on each of the 12 school buses. When a student does not get the meal or food they need, she goes above and beyond – hopping into the school van and delivering directly to their home. She has even gone as far as delivering to homes a day in advance in anticipation of snow day closures.

Congratulations and thank you to Jen and all of the incredible members of our Child Nutrition Program!