Burke County Public Schools, GA, Featured on CBS Evening News

Cafeteria Line

Burke County Public Schools, Georgia

  • Number of Schools: 5
  • Number of Students: 4,700
  • Innovation: Healthy Vending Machines

While the nutrition staff at the public school system in Burke County felt very good about the quality of the food being served in their five schools, they were concerned that a large percentage of the district’s high school students were not eating the meals.

The district addressed the problem by creating a reimbursable vending machine program that offered high school students healthy alternatives to traditional cafeteria meals. Burke County staff members use on-site equipment to package and seal fresh sandwiches and salads every day, then load the vending machines with these alternative options, which have quickly become extremely popular. Now, in addition to hot lunches in the cafeteria, students can purchase either a freshly packed entrée salad or a bag lunch with a sandwich, fruit and side item from these specialized vending machines as part of the National School Lunch Program.

Donna Martin, a registered dietitian and director of the school nutrition program in Burke County, estimates that students purchase 150 vending machine lunches each day. “No matter what we do, high school kids are probably never going to think cafeteria food is very cool,” said Martin. “We provide them with alternative options, but make sure those alternatives are not just processed, sugar-loaded vending machine snacks, but healthy, well-balanced meals prepared fresh that day by cafeteria staff.”

Since the program was introduced, more students have been purchasing lunch at school, and more than 90 percent of students in the county eat these meals. “It’s getting kids eating our food, which is healthful and nutritious,” said Martin. “That’s our job.”[1]

Check out this feature story about Burke County Public Schools’ commitment to their students’ health and nutrition on CBS Evening News!

[1] Donna Martin, telephone interview, April 19, 2011.

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

Latest from Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.