The USDA Turnip the Beet Award recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation who work hard to offer high quality meals to children that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious during the summer months.
Summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of our nation’s youth, whose risk for food insecurity increases during the summer months when they no longer have access to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program. Summer meal programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) within the NSLP, present the opportunity to help alleviate summertime food insecurity and positively impact children’s growth and development by offering nutritious meals and encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. High quality summer meals provide daily energy, and help make sure children are healthy and ready to learn when they return to school in the fall. The Turnip the Beet Award was created to showcase sponsors who are going above and beyond to ensure that children in their care are receiving high-quality meals that are both nutritious and appetizing.
Across the country only 98 summer meal sponsors were recognized with Turnip the Beet awards for excellence in program year 2022: 31 sponsors qualified for a gold award; 54 qualified for a silver award; and 13 qualified for a bronze award.
KCEOC Community Action Partnership Received Gold Level Turnip the Beet Award.
Ensuring children have access to meals when they’re not in school has always been important, but the pandemic has magnified the importance of the out of school meals. When the schools have to suddenly close, and class work becomes increasingly virtually held, many people worry about the children who are dependent on those meals to meet their nutritional requirements. School Dietary Staff and Community-based Organizations have chosen to step up to get meals out the door and into the hands of these children. For nearly three years, KCEOC Food service staff have pivoted and re-pivoted to be able to serve meals in creative yet safe ways, guaranteeing kids are fed, nourished, and safe throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“We at KCEOC CAP are dedicated to eradicating poverty in all of its forms; we stand by our Community Action Promise to help others help themselves and each other. Hungry children cannot focus on learning; this not only hinders their future potential, but also our future communities. We give a voice to the poor and vulnerable families in our communities, and we listen to them on how to remove barriers to best serve them. KCEOC’s goal is to help eliminate childhood hunger in Southeastern Kentucky now and forever. When we feed children nutritious foods- We are feeding HOPE, one meal at a time!” Says Brendia Moses, Community Resource and Wellness Director for KCEOC Community Action Partnership.
About USDA FNS
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service leverages its 16 nutrition assistance programs to ensure children, income eligible individuals, and families have equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable foods that promote optimal health and well-being, while building a more resilient food system. FNS accomplishes this by partnering with over 175 States, U.S. Territories, and Tribal organizations that operate federal nutrition programs. In fiscal year 2022, the budget for these programs totaled $163 billion and served 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year.
FNS’s mission is to increase food security and reduce hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. Our commitment to nutrition security applies a health equity lens to the way we operate our programs. We recognize that long standing disparities in diet-related diseases are rooted in structural racism and require equities beyond those available in FNS. Therefore, FNS is working with our federal partners and stakeholders across the country to meet the goals of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to promote and elevate nutrition security.
About KCEOC Community Action Partnership
As one of the original 23 Community Action Agencies formed in 1964 after President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty,” KCEOC Community Action Partnership has been helping others help themselves for over 57 years. This help has come in many forms, from early childhood education, to housing and food assistance, to weatherizing homes, to providing emergency services. The agency has served thousands of area residents in need and is constantly developing new programming to meet those needs, as well as serving as an advocate and voice for those who need a hand up. With an original service area of one county, KCEOC now provides services in 16 counties in eastern and central Kentucky. We are constantly adapting our service delivery model to accommodate the rapidly changing times we are in and are able to provide services in the direst circumstances.