March 19, 2014 was ARAMARK’s first annual global volunteer day, featuring a theme of “Inspiring kids to be healthy for life.” ARAMARK employees nation-wide joined in to volunteer their time and resources to a variety of projects dedicated to this theme. In Rhode Island, ARAMARK accounts across the state held a food drive for employees in an effort to keep our kids healthy and help stop the growing food insecurity problem in the state. A team of 7 ARAMARK manager’s dropped off donations from around the state to the RI Food Bank on 3/19 with donations totaling over 700 pieces! The team then stayed for the afternoon and volunteered sorting and packaging donations to be distributed around the state.
ARAMARK helped Warwick students get into the spirit of the day by featuring heart-themed lunches at levels across the district on Friday 2/14/14. Elementary school students celebrated with a lunch highlighting whole grain heart-shaped soft pretzels with yogurt while junior high and high school students were treated to heart-shaped corn dogs. Pink applesauce and strawberry milk were also available with every meal!
On Monday January 6th The Learning Community Charter School became the third school in Central Falls to serve After School Meals; this is the first school to provide the service Monday through Friday. Aramark has partnered with the RI Community Food Bank to provide these nutritious after school meals to the students in the community. The healthy options consist of BBQ Chicken Sandwich, White Meat Chicken Tenders, deli sandwiches and many other nutritious options throughout the month.
The program is designed to ensure that any student involved in an after school activity has the ability to eat a healthy meal before they go home for the night. During the first week of service we served over 100 children each day. We hope that the program will expand in the future to all schools in Central Falls in order to reach more students that are in need of nutritious meals.
ARAMARK’s successful partnership with Lincoln Public Schools can be attributed in part to their shared vision of offering healthy, appetizing meal choices and valuable nutrition education programs. ARAMARK services 8 buildings in Lincoln, including Lincoln High, Lincoln Middle, 4 elementary schools plus Spurwink School and St. James in the Northern RI Collaborative.
Throughout the school year ARAMARK School Nutrition Services works with nurse educators and administrators to develop and implement a variety of nutrition education activities. One of the more popular is an event called “Table Hosting”. Parents and community members are invited to their student’s school to enjoy school lunch and engage students in nutrition education activities. Students are encouraged to try fruits and vegetables from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Bar.
Adults discuss the benefits of eating a healthy balanced meal and also try to learn more about which items students like or dislike. This information is shared with the Food Service Director to provide guidance on what items to include with future meals
Born and raised in North Scituate Rhode Island, Kaitlin graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University. Kaitlin joined the Aramark team in January 2013 with a strong background in restaurant and banquet food service.
Kaitlin’s first responsibility was to revamp and upgrade the food and service at the International Charter School in Pawtucket. Working closely with the school administration, Kaitlin re-organized the kitchen staff and the service to provide healthy, from “scratch” meals for the students. In March Kaitlin was promoted to Chef Manager at the Scituate Public Schools. Here she reduced costs by implementing Aramark’s Food Management initiative and increased sales by implementing innovative a la carte items.
In late Spring Kaitlin represented Aramark, around the state, at school Health Fairs teaching students the importance of healthy living.
In July Kaitlin was again promoted to a larger account at William M. Davies High School. Kaitlin is working cooperatively with Faculty Chef Instructors to create menus that showcase Davies culinary students’ skills as they help Aramark food service staff in the preparation and cooking of daily meals.
When asked about working with the Rhode Island Aramark Team during their statewide partnership with RIDE Kaitlin expressed “it is a gratifying experience and I like having the opportunity to affect children’s lives in a positive and proactive way which makes what we do worthwhile.”
Wood River Junction, RI: As part of a collaborative effort between school administration and Aramark staff, every student that was taking NECAPs in October was offered a full hot breakfast, replacing the beverage and snack that had been offered in previous years.
“We served over 11,000 breakfasts during the course of the eight days of testing.” reports Jeffrey Powell, Aramark Food Service Director. “The research overwhelmingly points to the tangible benefit a full breakfast has on increased testing scores and, as foodservice provider, we wanted to find a way to help Chariho students perform at their peak.”
Greg Zenion, Principal of the Middle School had this to say: “Serving a full breakfast before NECAP testing was a great way to get the students ready for the testing environment. I enjoyed helping serve breakfast and it created the feeling that we were all in this together. The students were excited that we cared enough about them to serve them breakfast and make sure they were ready for the test.”
Innovative solutions and creativity in helping students flourish are a hallmark of Aramark’s approach to their clients as RIDE’s Statewide Food Service provider.
Said Chariho Regional School District Superintendent Barry Ricci: “I applaud ARAMARK’s creative initiative in coming up with a cost-effective way to ensure that all students eat a nutritious breakfast during the NECAP administration period. We all know that our students will not perform well if they are hungry. Working in coordination with our principals, ARAMARK’s district leadership team has instituted a win-win solution for Chariho students.”
The week of October 21-25th marked ARAMARK’s third annual Eat the Rainbow promotion, which runs in conjunction with the nationally recognized Food Day.
Good nutrition leads to physically and mentally healthy kids. Children who eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables naturally consume many of the nutrients essential to healthy growth and development. Pediatricians and nutritionists agree; growing children need a steady stream of vitamins and minerals. How do we ensure children are getting the variety they need?
Even adults can struggle with healthy eating despite knowing which foods are nutrient dense. Nutrition is a vast and complex subject. As adults it is difficult to know what we’re supposed to consume in the way of vitamins and nutrients so our challenge is how do we get our kids to do the same?
Five basic colors of the rainbow; green, red, blue/purple, yellow and orange coincide with the majority of important vitamins and minerals found in foods. If we can convince children to consume these five colors every day then we have also covered most of the necessary nutrients associated with a healthy lifestyle. The concept is simple and reduces nutrition to an easily understood and fun set of guidelines. Rather than telling kids to “eat your carrots” or “eat your spinach” we can suggest they, “eat the rainbow”.
National Food Day was first celebrated on October 24th, 2011. ARAMARK quickly realized that one day could not cover all the food options they wanted to offer. Food Week was born with a five day “Eat the Rainbow” promotion. There are four focused color days with a Rainbow day on Friday. During Food Week kids are encouraged to wear the color of the day and there is often a small prize or handout to go along with the day’s color. A wide array of menu options to match the day’s color is offered. Looking into the cafeteria during lunch, you can see how popular this week with the children is as a line of red-clad students wait to be served strawberry yogurt, grape tomatoes or apples on red day. The message is hitting its mark!
ARAMARK, Rhode Islands preferred school food service vendor, partners with over 16 school districts across the State and is proud to be a Healthier US School Challenge leader with over 30 schools buildings earning this highly coveted award.
The Healthier US School Challenge is a voluntary initiative, established by the USDA, to recognize schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity. First Lady Michelle Obama has incorporated the HUSSC into her Let’s Move! campaign to help in her efforts to raise a healthier generation of kids.
“As North Smithfield’s Food Service Director, I am proud to be part of a team that is deeply committed to the health and well-being of its community. We are honored to receive the USDA’s Healthier US School Challenge award and the recognition it will provide to our dedicated administrators and staff that serve the students of North Smithfield Schools every day,”’ says Andrew Viveiros of Aramark.
District Superintendent Stephen Lindberg is equally pleased: “The students reap the benefit from the team effort on the part of Aramark staff, our building staff and administration, as well as the Wellness Advisory Committee.”
Diane Jolin, Principal of Halliwell Memorial School and Co-Chairperson of the North Smithfield Wellness Advisory Committee, “I am thrilled that our two district elementary schools have achieved this wonderful honor. Our Wellness Advisory Council strives to provide sound guidance to our district on how best to provide a healthy learning environment where students and staff can participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices and to support optimal student achievement. We are proud of this recognition.”
“I am very proud to receive this national award. Our students are learning to eat healthier and make better choices since Aramark has been with the district. Mrs. Kelley, our school nurse and member of the Wellness Advisory Committee, visits lunches each day and reports back to me the positive changes,” said Carolyn Frayne, Principal of North Smithfield Elementary School.
This highly regarded achievement has been awarded to less than 5% of the school districts in the nation.