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Week 4: First discussion wohoo!

Apr 02, 2021

Hi all,

Welcome to week four! I really can’t believe it’s only been 28 days since we left school.

This week has been very similar as the other weeks, except I had my first conversation with an official today! It wasn’t a formal interview, just a chance to touch bases. I spoke with Dr. Sandra Curwood, the State Director of School Nutrition Programs in Virginia. We mostly talked about school food programs, as that’s her area of expertise.

Dr. Curwood’s background is fascinating. Around my age, she became really interested in food systems and the environmental impacts of food (relating to local food and sustainability). She decided to become a registered dietician, and worked in a variety of different healthcare and community settings. When her own kids started going to school (she lived in California at this time) she wanted to become more involved in school life – she became the PTA president and started to divert money into food programs. Shortly after she became the school nutrition director, and started buying produce from local farms and doing the school’s cooking in-school. After finding her passion in school nutrition, she moved to Virginia to work at the state level.

During out talk, Dr. Curwood laid out some of the state’s programs for food insecurity during the pandemic. While schools were closed, one of the emergency measures taken to combat food insecurity for those who usually rely on school meals were to open all schools for all meal access. That means that an elementary school child who usually receives school breakfasts and lunches can pick them up at a middle school or high school if it’s physically closer to them, for example. Additionally, meal access was expanded to all students under 18, mainly because so many more people have become food insecure during this pandemic. Different responses also differed by jurisdiction: for example, in Richmond the students could pick up a week’s worth of meals at a time from the schools so they didn’t have to travel every day.

In the coming weeks I’ll be having more informal talks with various officials and hopefully start formal interviews. Until then, stay winning girlbosses!

3 Replies to “Week 4: First discussion wohoo!”

  1. Jeffrey G. says:

    Crazy how time flies huh. Dr. Curwood seems very dedicated to her work! I’m glad that we have people like her helping out those in need! I’m looking forward to see who you interview next!

  2. Eric M. says:

    I agree with jeffrey. She has so much passion for what she does that she knew what she wanted to do at our age while we’re still flailing around…

  3. meganf says:

    Sounds like it was an informative conversation with Dr. Curwood. I know you will look forward to more of these conversations in the future. It is interesting to see how different areas responded to COVID in regards to providing meals for children. I can’t wait to read more about your internship!
    Ms. Floyd

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