Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Letter to the Community about APS Cheese Sandwich Policy

Good morning.
This morning on page A3 of the Albuquerque Journal you will be able to read a Letter to the Community About the APS Cheese Sandwich Policy that has been in effect for our children and their families since January 5, 2009. Members of the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger and the greater community paid for the space for this Letter. We felt it important to place this Letter in order to accurately provide facts about the APS Policy and the impact it is having on our children and families. Given the facts that New Mexico is the second worst in the Nation in hunger, that 1 in 4 of our children do not know where they are getting their next meal and that USDA provides free nutritious lunch to our children (through reimbursing APS for these lunches) so that our children get at least one nutritious meal a day - it is imperative that APS stop the Cold Cheese Sandwich Lunch Policy immediately.
Something that has not been discussed in the media is that APS has stated they are paying for the cold cheese sandwiches out of their own budget. This is because USDA will not reimburse APS for a sub-standard lunch - which is what the cold cheese sandwich is considered by USDA.
Unfortunately, similar cheese sandwich lunch policies have been instituted in two other school districts in our State. It will be important to stop all of these policies that affect our children and their families through grass-roots community volunteers. If you would like to help, please go to: and send an email indicating your interest in helping.
Thank you very much.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

APS Board meeting on alternative lunch policy

It is about time that I posted an update on the APS Alternative Lunch policy, so here goes!
Many of our neighbors responded to hearing about this policy by sending emails and calling APS Board members. I was copied on many of these emails and following is one that reflects what I read in many of the emails.

Dear APS Board:
As a taxpayer, a member of the community and a person who works with school children, I'd like to add my voice to the numbers of people who are requesting a "re-think" of the just-implemented school meal policy - the one requiring children whose parents owe lunch monies to be pulled from the lunch line and fed a lesser alternative to the regular fare.

I understand that this new policy was to take effect on 5 January 2009 and, as far as I know, it has begun. I realize that I am weighing in rather late, but the matter has only recently come to my attention. I sincerely hope - and believe - that my voice is not coming too late. I don't believe that anything is irreversible, especially a decision that is harmful to children and will, without question, prove to be so. Recalling your own school days, is it difficult to imagine how harmful this decision will be to already beleaguered school-age children? In my experience, it is never a good or effective strategy to punish children for the actions (or inactions) of their parents. I'm confident that many better ways can be found, when well-meaning people put their heads together, to find a solution (or solutions) to this dilemma.

Toward that end, I further understand that a Working Group has been proposed to address this issue and I assume that you will all be very important members of this group. Again, as a tax-paying - and very concerned - citizen of New Mexico, I urge you to support the formation of this group and seriously think about finding another way to recoup the monies that have to date been lost.

Over 90 people attended the APS Board meeting on Friday morning. Grandparents, parents and students in APS Schools attended along with State Senators, City Councilors, County Commissioners, State Agency personnel, Business people, Non-Profit Organization Executives and representatives from Community Action New Mexico, McCune Foundation, New Mexico Community Foundation and Albuquerque Community Foundation. It was very impressive. The APS Board decided to create a Task Force to work with members of the community (one of the Working Group's asks of the Board) over the next 30 days to help collect monies due (on a school-by-school basis with people who are members in each school) and to revisit APS policies so that we do not have past due lunch balances moving forward.
Our first task force meeting is Monday morning.
Please keep connected to this issue that is so important to our children - for many children school lunch is the only nutritious meal they receive 5 days a week.
Your support has truly made a difference - please keep it up!

Friday, December 19, 2008

APS school lunch update

Good evening.
I thought it might be helpful to give an update on the Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) lunch issue that will take effect on January 5, 2009.
Brad Winter, the COO of APS, has agreed to meet with a Wilson Middle School family, school advocate and three members of the Collaboration on Monday morning. The meeting will provide an opportunity for Brad to give details on the APS decision that will pull students out of the lunch line if their parents owe any money to APS for school lunches. It will also provide APS an opportuntity to hear from a student and family how this new policy will affect students. I am creating an agenda for the meeting this weekend so if you have any thoughts about what should be included in the meeting, I would welcome hearing from you on this Blog.
Thanks so much for your support!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Albuquerque Public Schools and school lunch

This week I attended a couple of meetings about a decision that will take effect on January 5, 2009 in all Albuquerque Public Schools. If a family has an account past due for school lunches for their child, the child will be pulled out of the lunch line and given a cold cheese sandwich in a bag. This effects families even owing as little as a $1.00 to APS. Teachers, Principals, food service personnel, families and especially children, are all very opposed to this decision. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be a middle school 6th grader pulled out of line and humiliated in this way? Wilson Middle School has come together to sign a petition to the Superintendent of APS. Over 600 parents and 400 children have signed the petition. They are asking for a "stay" in the decision of January 5 until families and members of this Collaboration have an opportunity to give the facts to school board members.
If you have ideas on how to best advocate for the children in Albuquerque Public Schools, please add your comments to this Blog.
I hope you have a good week!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First blog from Nancy


This is the first posting on behalf of the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger.

Goal #5 Group had a meeting for three hours this afternoon to continue the discussion of "Creating pervasive awareness of hunger in New Mexico". The group members discussed how to better communicate with all of our Collaboration partners (over 50 currently) and with all of our external audiences. One of the ideas was to create this Blog.
I will use this Blog and a newly developed website for the Collaboration to communicate with you. As always, your ideas, observations and comments are appreciated - especially when it leads to accomplishing our goal to end hunger in New Mexico.

Thank you.


Click here to visit our website. (This is just in the beginning stages and is being worked on as I write this Blog - go Cathy!)