DHS Honors No Tennessee Child Hungry Excellence Award Winners
Award Winners Recognized in Ceremony at the Tennessee State Capitol Building
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) honored the recipients of the No Tennessee Child Hungry Excellence Awards yesterday during an awards ceremony held in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the State Capitol Building.
The summer of 2015 represented a transformational time for Tennessee’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) intended to ensure that children who benefit from free and reduced price meals during the school year, have access to nutritious meals during the summer. Subsequently, the No Tennessee Child Hungry Excellence Awards were established as a way to recognize the hard work and dedication of SFSP sponsors that represented excellence in their operation and service. SFSP sponsors served approximately 4.3 million meals to children across Tennessee during the summer of 2015.
“The Summer Food Service Program plays a vital role in our communities during the summer months to help ensure that the over half a million children in Tennessee living in a food insecure environment have a place to go to receive a nutritious meal,” said DHS Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter in a congratulatory letter to winners. “Thank you for your commitment to serve in this capacity and we appreciate your dedication toward ensuring No Tennessee Child Goes Hungry.”
Award categories included the Impact Award, Trailblazer Award, Healthy Happy Meals Award, and Shining Star Award. A special Rising Star Award was also created after receiving an entry submission for Myka Coward, a 10-year-old girl, who started a lemonade stand to generate donations to give to her school cafeteria for any student to get a hot lunch that didn't have the money to buy one. Joining in to present awards to winners were Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner, WKRN News Channel 2 anchor Dawn Davenport, Commissioner Hatter, and additional members of the DHS leadership team.
Award winners are listed below in detail:
Trailblazer Award: The Trailblazer Award was presented to Cumberland County High School, a sponsor that demonstrated innovative ideas when implementing SFSP in its community. Cumberland County High School has been a program sponsor since 2013 and is located in a relatively rural area. They have increased their impact by using innovative ideas such as a mobile feeding site bus.
Impact Award: The Impact Award was presented to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, the sponsor that showed increased impact by expansion and participation between 2014 and 2015. Every year, their goal is to feed as many children as possible. They work with their food distribution sites strategically by having a mixture of traditional sites and mobile sites that are served through their new Lunch Express program. During the summer of 2015, they served over 37,000 meals at 54 sites in five counties. They increased the amount of meals served from 2014 by more than 17%.
Healthy Happy Meals Award: The Healthy Happy Meals Award was presented to the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, the sponsor that provided meals that not only met the meal pattern guidelines, but were creative, nutritious, and kid-friendly. The YMCA of Middle Tennessee has a youth obesity prevention specialist working on their SFSP program. In 2015, they worked to increase the educational and nutritional value of their SFSP program. The program has been redesigned to obtain optimal compliance with Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards at all sites.
Shining Star Award: The Shining Star Award was presented to Murfreesboro City Schools for excelling in all award categories. They have been a trailblazer using innovative ideas like their mobile feeding program called the CHOW (Combating Hunger On Wheels) bus. With the addition of their second CHOW bus this year, they were able to increase the number of meals served by over 35,000 and the number of sites from 18 to31.
Rising Star Award: The Rising Star Award is an award that was created after DHS heard about Myka Coward’s amazing community effort to help her fellow classmates have lunches. Myka is a 10-year-old girl who started a lemonade stand in 2014 to donate all proceeds to her school cafeteria for any student to get a hot lunch if they didn't have the money to buy one. The first year she raised $46 which was enough for 23 lunches. This year she raised $126 which was enough for over 63 lunches. She is committed to doing this each summer and has worked to get her local community involved.
To learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services and the No Tennessee Child Should Go Hungry initiative visit: http://www.tn.gov/humanservices/article/dhs-tn-foodprograms-initiative.
To add your strength, send an email to NoHungryTennesseeChild.DHS@tn.gov. Join the call to action for Tennesseans to fight hunger in their local communities by donating, volunteering, raising awareness and other activities that support the end of hunger.
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CONTACT: Stephanie Jarnagin