MSD Wayne Township’s Child Nutrition Department did not let COVID-19 impact teaching and reaching students. Child Nutrition Dietician Amanda Lyons partnered with teachers and parents to increase meal access for students while providing a nutrition education opportunity through innovative meal delivery models and a new tower garden: 

Growing with our Tower Garden 

After thinking about getting a Tower Garden for several years, a grant from No Kid Hungry helped make MSD Wayne Township’s dream a reality in one of our third-grade classrooms at Stout Field Elementary. Students were responsible for planting seeds, watering the seedlings, planting them in the tower, and caring for the plants as they grew. The classroom teacher taught a lesson on seed planting day to discuss planting and how different plants are used in everyday cooking. Students also learned about plants and what they need to grow.  

Once the plants were ready to be harvested, students had a class taste testing. The students were each able to harvest plants from the tower garden, and everyone had the opportunity to taste each plant. Students were so excited and surprisingly willing to try new things. After the taste test, the class talked about their favorite and least favorite plant and surprised them the most. The kids loved the peppermint and lettuce and liked the arugula the least because it was so spicy!  

This was an amazing experience, and surprisingly easy to maintain. MSD Wayne Township is planning to use the tower garden again next year with their STEM teacher so that more students can participate. Additionally, they hope to keep the garden in the cafeteria for everyone to see. 

Meeting the Needs of our Community with Meal Delivery 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSD Wayne Township adapted their meal service to meet the needs of families, including curbside meal distribution; however, they noticed that many families this year that could not utilize the curbside meals program due to schedule conflicts, lack of transportation, disability, and other barriers. In response, MSD Wayne Township’s school nutrition team decided to put together a meal delivery program to reach the students that did not have access to regular school meals. They utilized their parent liaisons to help connect with families and set up a delivery route. A No Kid Hungry grant supported this program. Students were excited to see their favorite school nutrition staff, and families were incredibly grateful. 

Looking Forward 

MSD Wayne Township’s summer feeding program is in full swing, with over 8.800 meals distributed to students in June alone! Their team continues to use the equipment purchased with the grant to transport meals on 2 summer lunch buses and delivery vans to 12 apartment complexes and the public library in the community.  

Follow MSD Wayne Townships school nutrition team @giantsnutrition on Twitter to keep up with what they do next!