Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Sept. 19:
1. Lunch lady quits over unpaid meal policy
Unpaid meals are a huge issue in child nutrition programs. Many districts have been forced to come up with policies to feed children alternative meals (usually a cheese sandwich) when the child reaches a certain amount of unpaid meal charges. In a district in Pennsylvania this week, a cafeteria worker has quit, calling the district’s unpaid meal policy “lunch shaming.” Here’s what happened: The child had reached the $25 in unpaid meal charges that the district’s policy allows. The worker did not realize the student had reached the limit and served the student a hot meal instead of the alternative meal. She then had to go to the student and take away his hot meal and give him the alternative meal instead. The worker said she understood the unpaid meal charge issue but told ABC 7 News, “I'm not saying the parents shouldn't be held accountable, but I think there has to be a better way than involving the children.” This isn’t the first time this year that this issue has been brought up. Perhaps the most famous was the “sandwich of shame” incident in Indiana.
2. Kentucky no longer counting Coke as a local food
Earlier this year a report was released questioning the amount of purchases that dining services at the University of Kentucky considered local. One of the items in question was Coca-Cola. The report said that Kentucky was greenwashing its local purchase numbers by including products that didn’t benefit local farmers. The university and its dining services provider Aramark decided to no longer count these product (Coke, Pepsi and ice) in its calculation of local products for the first time.
Read more: Coke no longer 'local food' in UK cafeterias
3. Cafeteria worker loses 100 pounds eating school food
School food can often get a bad rap, but for one cafeteria worker, it helped her get healthier. Tammy McRae is a cafeteria manager in a Houston-area school. She lost 100 pounds after changing her diet—including eating breakfast and lunch from the school’s offerings.
4. Venezuela state declares food emergency at schools
For the past several months, Venezuela has been in a state of crisis following the dramatic drop in crude oil prices that the country relies heavily on to power its economy. The crisis has been a political hot button, as many question the policies of the country’s president and his socialist rule. As part of the country’s crisis, a lack of food has been a real life-threatening issue. Now, the opposition governor of the country’s second largest state has declared an emergency over the lack of food in schools, which allows the governor to divert funding to food for schools, nursing homes and facilities for the disabled.
5. Greatist names the 26 healthiest colleges
The website Greatist has released its list of the 26 healthiest colleges in the country. The site used metrics like access to healthy food, fitness centers and mental health services to make up their list, which is simply that, a list and not a ranking. Some of the schools on the list include UC-Irvine, Ohio University and NC State University.
Read more: The 26 Healthiest Colleges in the U.S.