THE HCS CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAM
NEWSLETTER APRIL 2021
We hope you all had a wonderful and safe Spring Break and a Happy Easter. As we advance to the summer months we are preparing to gear up for our annual Summer Food Service Program 2021 that will take place from, June 7, 2021, to July 23, 2021. A lot of planning and strategies are taking place for this program and we are excited about having such a great opportunity to offer meals to the Huntsville community. We encourage everyone to stay tuned as we will announce locations and times once the planning stages are complete. Have a great and productive day!
- H. Ward
Inspirational Quote of the Month
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Come join the Team!
- CNP Worker (TEMPORARY)
- CNP Supervisor
- CNP Supervisor (TEMPORARY)
Maintenance / Warehouse Helper (Itinerant) - CNP (TEMPORARY)
To apply for a position with Huntsville City Schools, you must complete an online application with the Alabama State Department of Education. Just Click the Link below to start the process
Second Round of Pandemic EBT Benefits Coming to Eligible Alabama Children
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service approved the plan on April 13. Eligible pre-K-12 students are those who lost access to free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act during the 2020-21 school year because their schools were closed or operating with virtual or hybrid learning models due to COVID-19. No application is required. The Alabama State Department of Education is providing the names of eligible children to DHR. Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said, “This program helped put food on the table for almost half a million Alabama children in 2020, at a time when many children faced a growing risk of hunger. We are grateful to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service for providing us with additional resources to build upon last year’s overwhelming success.
Together with our partners at USDA-FNS and the Department of Education, we remain committed to ensuring that no child goes hungry as a result of this pandemic.” The P-EBT program allows children to receive benefits equal to the National School Lunch Program reimbursement rate, which is $6.82 per day for each eligible child. Amounts for K-12 students, some pre-K students, and SNAP recipients under 6 will be calculated retroactively. Benefits for children attending schools will be calculated for August 2020-May 2021, and amounts for SNAP recipients under 6 who are not attending school will be calculated for October 2020-May 2021. Eligible households will receive EBT cards in the mail that can be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food items at stores that accept the EBT cards.
The benefits are available for 365 days from the issue date and are non-transferable. Children may continue to access meals from local school districts while receiving P-EBT benefits. To gain P-EBT eligibility, households that experienced decreased income may apply for free or reduced-price meals at the schools their children attend. DHR distributed over $144 million in benefits to more than 460,000 children in Alabama during the first round of P-EBT this past year. Those benefits covered meals missed during the 2019-20 school year due to school closures. More information about P-EBT benefits will be posted to dhr.alabama.gov in the coming weeks.
May 7th is School Lunch Hero Day!!!
Between preparing healthy meals for America’s students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are true heroes.
On Friday, May 7, 2021, we will celebrate the 8th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! School Lunch Hero Day is a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria.
School Lunch Hero Day provides us with the perfect opportunity to recognize the hardworking professionals in our school cafeterias.
SNA has partnered with author Jarrett J. Krosoczka, of the “Lunch Lady” book series, to remind everyone—directors, managers, parents, students, and school staff—that school nutrition employees are superheroes that deserve some recognition.
THE MONTH OF APRIL 2021: HOLIDAYS, FUN FACTS, FOLKLORE EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT APRIL!
THE MONTH OF APRIL
The month of April gets its name from the Latin word aperio, meaning “to open [bud],” because plants really begin to grow now. Read more about how the months got their names.
April 1 is All Fools’ Day—otherwise known as “April Fools’ Day.” Where did this silly day come from?
April 2 is Good Friday. Learn more about Good Friday.
April 4 is Easter Sunday. (May 2 is Orthodox Easter.) Did you know that Easter’s date is related to the full Moon?
April 12 marks the start of Ramadan (beginning at sundown). Learn more about Ramadan.
April 22 is Earth Day. To celebrate, see some Earth Day ideas and activities.
April 24 is the birthday of Robert B. Thomas, the founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac!
April 30 is National Arbor Day. Find out who started Arbor Day and how we observe this day honoring trees.
“Just for Fun” Days
Apr. 1: Sweet Potato Day
Apr. 6: International Pillow Fight Day
Apr. 7: National No Housework Day
Apr. 17: Blah, Blah, Blah Day
Apr. 21: Go Fly a Kite Day
Apr. 26: National Richter Scale Day
Apr. 27: National Sense of Smell Day
The Full Pink Moon
April’s full Pink Moon will rise on the night of Monday, April 26, reaching peak illumination at 11:33 P.M. ET. This full Moon is one of two supermoons this year.
Learn more about April’s full Moon here.
April Moon Phases
Last Quarter: Apr. 4, 6:04 A.M. EDT
New Moon: Apr. 11, 10:32 P.M. EDT
First Quarter: Apr. 20, 3:00 A.M. EDT
Full Moon: Apr. 26, 11:33 P.M. EDT
A cold April the barn will fill.
This month brings us some capricious weather! April rains bring verdant pastures, but also umbrellas and rain boots!
The Editors." THE MONTH OF APRIL 2021: HOLIDAYS, FUN FACTS, FOLKLORE
EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT APRIL!", 21 March 2021, Month of April 2021: Holidays, Fun Facts, Folklore | The Old Farmer's Almanac
Mrs. Prisillia Gonzalez has been promoted to CNP Supervisor at Ridgecrest Elementary. Mrs. Gonzalez brings an awesome attitude, great work ethic, new ideas, and multiple years of CNP experience to this role. She is the first CNP supervisor at HCS of Latino descent. We look forward to adding her to the CNP management team.
DID YOU KNOW?
- On Friday, May 7, 2021, we will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day!
- The Summer Food Service Program is scheduled to start on Monday, June 7, 2021, to July 23, 2021.
- Pandemic EBT benefits will be distributed during the months of May and July 2021
- The USDA Issues Pandemic Flexibilities for Schools and Day Care Facilities through June 2022 to Support Safe Reopening and Healthy, Nutritious Meals.
CNP EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT
Ms. Debbie Casteel - Child Nutrition Program Lead Accounting Clerk, Huntsville City Schools Annie C. Merts Center
Ms. Debbie Casteel has been with Huntsville City Schools for over 32 years. She is originally from Huntsville, Alabama and she was raised in Madison County in the community of Bobo which is west of Hazel Green, Alabama. She is not married, and she has two daughters named Kristy, age 45, and Kelly, age 39. She also has two granddaughters named Amber and Ashley. Debbie’s oldest daughter Kristy works for Limestone county at the 911 center and owns a Shaved Ice business called Sno-Biz. Her youngest daughter Kelly has no children and works at R&D Electronics. Both of Debbie’s grandchildren are in the health care field.
Debbie describes herself as a person who loves to have fun with her friends and family and likes to travel and go on adventures. Besides living in Huntsville, Debbie has also resided in other areas such as Chicago, Illinois, and Louisville, Kentucky. Before working for Huntsville City Schools, Debbie was a credit manager for Lorch’s Jewelry at two locations which were downtown Huntsville and in South Huntsville. The company has long since closed. Debbie expressed that what she loves most about her job is the paperwork that is involved which entails processing invoices, posting funds received and helping staff with any needs that they may have.
When Debbie is not working, she likes to travel and read a lot. She also likes going out with her family and friends. Debbie states that she is motivated to do her job by the love that she has for her role and the people that she works with. She enjoys getting up and coming to work each day.
Debbie states that the highlight of her career in CNP occurred when she was a CNP sub at Monte Sano Elementary in August 1988. At that time Debbie was then transferred to Huntsville Middle School and then by the month's end, she was hired as a permanent Huntsville City School employee on September 28, 1988. She stayed in that role for six years until she moved to Lakewood Elementary to become the CNP Manager for two years. After that time Debbie was transferred to the CNP Central office to assist other CNP Managers which is what she is currently doing now.
Debbie has one pet named Sweetie. Sweetie is a six-year-old Shih Tzu, and she loves car ridding. Debbie states that all she needs to ask Sweetie is “you want to ride?” and she heads to the garage door. Debbie says that her favorite food is Mexican and steak. She also mentions that she is good at cooking as she loves to try new recipes. Debbie’s favorite music is Country, but she also likes oldies music from the 60s and ’70s. A lot of Debbie's coworkers may not know that she assists her daughter in operating her shaved ice-lemonade business when she can. If you want to visit the location, then check it out on Facebook as it is called Sno-Biz Hazel Green.
Debbie continues to work in CNP because she loves her job, the students, and the people. If she were not working in CNP then Debbie explains that she would be retired and traveling. She does not have a specific hobby but says that she is always into something. Debbie feels that CNP is important because the food is essential to children and it may be the only food that they get each day. She is also happy that our CNP staff are there to provide meals to our HCS children. She also feels that the CNP staff deserve so much credit for their hard work which she knows from firsthand experience.
Debbie’s favorite sport is football where she roots for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Debbie tells us that Participating in CNP means that all students who need meals receive them but also all the employees who are involved in preparing those meals have a heart for the children. She goes on to say that it is hard work, but we are rewarded by the students that we see each day enjoying the meals that are served.
Debbie hopes to one day travel to Japan within the next three years if the COVID-19 vaccine parameters are lifted for traveling. She has a friend who lives there and wants her to come to visit. In the next five years, Debbie plans to be retired. Lastly, she defines success as when you have lived your life to the fullest and have enjoyed every aspect of it. You also have no regrets later in life.
EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH
Ms. Jennifer Jones - CNP Supervisor of the Month, Williams Elem./Middle
Ms. Ebony Lewis - CNP Worker of The Month, Monte Sano Elementary
Samantha Crutcher 4/2
Rita Valderrama Cruz 4/6
Emily Battle 4/12
Debbie Casteel 4/18
Latonya Williams 4/22
Gloria Fuller 4/29
Eddie Osborne 4/30
Remithia Strickland 19 years
Bobbie Humphrey 21 years