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5 things: Notre Dame starts table reservation program in dining halls

This and more are the things you missed for the week of Jan. 22.

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 Dec. Jan. 22:

1. Notre Dame starts table reservation program in dining halls

A new offering by dining services at Notre Dame allows groups of students, such as classes and organizations, to reserve tables to dine together in the dining halls. Two tables are available for the service, seating between 10 and 20 people. It costs $10 for a one-hour slot during a meal period. Groups can only reserve the tables once per week and they can be requested only two weeks in advance. Dining services also is offering another new option: a campus community resource table. Through the program, student groups, organizations and campus departments can rent a bistro table with four chairs in the heart of the dining hall. Two representatives from the group can sit at the tables, allowing them to network and advertise their programs at the table.   

Read more: Dining Halls Announce Table Reservation Programs

2. District taking extra precautions to prevent flu

This season’s flu is particularly widespread and deadly, and one Houston-area district is hoping to prevent the spread of germs in schools. Cy-Fair ISD is using a hospital-grade disinfectant to clean areas like desks, locker rooms and cafeterias daily. Cafeteria tables are being cleaned after every lunch period, while classrooms are being cleaned every night. A district nurse said she had to send home eight students with flu-like symptoms one day before Christmas, but the number of students sent home more recently has been one per week. 

Read more: Cy-Fair ISD taking extra steps to fight the flu

3. Iowa district serving free meals for kids during snow days

When school is out, many kids lose their only opportunity for a meal. We often think of this issue during the summer, which is why the USDA’s summer feeding programs are such a great help. But during the school year when class is cancelled because of weather-related issues such as the recent snow days in Iowa, the issue arises again. That’s why the Council Bluffs Community School District (CBCSD) is offering free meals to children 18 and under at one of its elementary schools during weather-related school closures. Adults can purchase meals for $3.65. The district is reimbursed through the USDA for the meals. CBCSD says it is the first district in Iowa to run this pilot, and during a recent snow day it had 70 people dine for breakfast and 86 for lunch. 

Read more: Feeding the kids: Bloomer Elementary kitchen crew doesn’t take a day off for snow

4. Ohio University dining location approved for SNAP

As the issue of food-insecure college students is gaining prominence, universities are doing their part to help alleviate it, often by opening food pantries on campus. Ohio University is taking another approach and has gotten approval to accept SNAP payment at its Jefferson Marketplace. The university says it already offered SNAP-eligible items at the location, but plans to add more.

Read more: OU dining facility OKed as federal food stamp retailer    

5. USDA releases food buying guide app for school nutrition

The USDA has released its FBG (Food Buying Guide) Mobile App, which it says makes it easier for key stakeholders in child nutrition, from operators to vendors, access information in a mobile, convenient way. The app provides yield information for all child nutrition programs to help operators know how food will contribute to federal meal pattern requirements. In addition, it provides comparisons on more than 2,100 foods and menu planning resources. The app can be found here (link:

Read more: Child Nutrition Goes Digital: Food and Nutrition Service Launches First Food Buying Guide Mobile App 

Bonus: How the Philadelphia Eagles fuel up for the Super Bowl

Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].

Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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