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Eleven bills addressing hunger in New Jersey were endorsed by an Assembly committee Monday.

5 things: New Jersey bill would require all K-12 schools to have free meal programs

This and University of Rochester ending use of declining dollars on off-campus GrubHub purchases are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. New Jersey bill would require all K-12 schools to have free meal programs

Eleven bills addressing hunger in New Jersey were endorsed by an Assembly committee Monday, including one called the ‘Working Class Families’ Anti-Hunger Act that would require all schools to have free meal programs, including those that don’t have to offer it now because small numbers of low-income students are eligible—less than 5% to avoid having a lunch program, or less than 20% to avoid having a breakfast program. “Because there are people who live in what we consider to be affluent communities who often struggle to pay their bills and to meet those needs and often face challenges that some other districts don’t because of the potential stigma that goes along with that,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who is also lead sponsor of the bill, which also expands eligibility for free breakfasts and lunches at school to students from families whose incomes are between 185% of the federal poverty level—the current thresholds—and 199%.

Read more: Latest Hunger Bills Make Every NJ School Offer Free lunch Program

  1. UR students no longer can use dining dollars on off-campus GrubHub

Starting Monday Feb. 14, University of Rochester (UR) students were no longer able to spend declining dollars on off-campus GrubHub purchases. The decision comes as UR continues to expand on-campus dining hours/options as dining staffing levels approach normal levels after they had plummeted to 65% of their normal rates last semester.

UR's decision is one of a series of moves by major campus dining programs to expand as the pandemic wanes and staffing issues start to be alleviated. For instance, Colorado State University has announced that its Durrell Marketplace and Café and Ram’s Horn Marketplace and Café will be expanding their hours of operation to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. after having reduced them at the start of the spring semester due to staffing shortfalls. Cornell University, after limiting dining halls to grab and go only for the first two weeks of the spring semester as all classes were held virtually due to the Omicron virus surge, has reinstated full capacity in-person dining for all dining rooms and cafes.

Read more: Dining updates include GrubHub ending Feb. 14

  1. Here are 14 organizations pushing for local food on hospital menus

The health sector is one of the largest purchasers and providers of food, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and with that purchasing power comes enormous potential for supporting more localized and sustainable food systems and serving meals modeled on healthier diets. The cost of procuring healthy, locally-sourced and sustainably-grown foods is often the greatest barrier for hospitals with limited budgets, but leaders across the healthcare system are pushing for reform in the quality and procurement of hospital foods, and finding innovative ways to make these foods more accessible. This article lists 14 initiatives highlighting the root cause of health risks and pushing for local and regional food on hospital menus.

Read more: 14 Organizations and Initiatives Bringing Better Food to Hospitals

  1. NMSU Dining, Las Cruces Schools team to help young adults with disabilities

New Mexico State University Dining Services is teaming up with Las Cruces Public Schools to help young adults with disabilities transition into the Las Cruces workforce and provide opportunities for them to participate fully. In 2019, Las Cruces Public Schools rolled out the Bridge Program to show young adults with disabilities how much they’re capable of and influence them to be a part of the community’s growth. Currently, there are 40 young adults enrolled in the program, and more spots are available.

Read more: NMSU Dining Services partners with LCPS to prep disabled students for workforce

  1. Legends launches local wine program at SoFi Stadium

Legends Hospitality, the culinary operator at SoFi Stadium, home field of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, recently unveiled a highly curated wine program that highlights California vintners, with a focus on Santa Barbara County. “Santa Barbara County is a diverse and dynamic wine region that goes head-to-head in quality and artisanal craftsmanship with any wine region in the world,” says Ryan Tawwater, VP of Special Projects for Legends. “While 65 percent of the wines we selected are from Santa Barbara County, the wine list we curated features more than 21 different grape varieties from Santa Barbara County.” Throughout the stadium, 90% of the wines offered are from California, with 65% of the selections hailing from Santa Barbara County.

Read more: SoFi Stadium Unveils Wine Program Curated by Legends

Bonus: Restaurant Associates at 75: New leadership, new initiatives and continued commitments

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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