Working at the Harrison County Public Schools has been a rewarding experience so far. These last two weeks have been slightly different than the first few weeks. I was asked to go speak at the Harrison County Career Fair; I have been working in the cafeteria with a few of the lunch ladies from the elementary schools; and I was able to conduct my plate waste study.
My preceptor and I have had the awesome opportunity of helping out with the Summer Foodservice Program for the Harrison County students. This is a program that provides breakfast and lunches to kids in more rural parts of the county who may have poor food security and less financial stability. Research by Gunderson and Ziliak (2014) showed that in 2012, nearly 16 million U.S. children, or over one in five, lived in households that were food-insecure, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited access to food.” A typical day consists of me going to the middle school cafeteria and prepping the lunch for the day. These are usually sack lunches that include at least one serving of meat, dairy, fruit, veggie, and a whole grain. We normally prepare around 150 lunches, so we spend all morning prepping the food and getting it ready for delivery. I have now gained plenty of experience doing the same task over and over again, along with learning how to clean and prep the food as efficiently as possible. This requires a lot of teamwork and I think we have done really well so far, so a competency I did well on was CRDN 2.3 Demonstrate active participation, teamwork, and contributions in group settings.
The next activity I got to take part in was the Harrison Co. Career Fair held at the high school. The organizer of the fair and my preceptor suggested I go and talk to the kids about how to obtain a career in dietetics. The audience was mostly sophomores and juniors and included about 17 kids. I explained to them the process of becoming a dietitian and the different job opportunities that were available to them if they decided to go that route. I also got the chance to demonstrate the wide variety of non-conventional career options that are rapidly becoming more available to them with the increasing popularity of the Internet. They seemed to be interested and it was well-received.
Finally, the last activity I did was conducting my plate waste study. Since I have been working on delivering lunches each day at the summer site, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to gather my data for the study. I decided to use milk as my main focus because it was much easier to gauge how much was wasted. I had each kid pour out their unfinished milk into a bucket which I later weighed. The kids seemed to actually enjoy pouring their milk in because they wanted to help contribute to my study. It was conducted at a summer site with about 50 kids available. Even though most of the kids love drinking all their milk, I did have a few participants to help me out. This was the first plate waste study I have ever conducted and it showed me I have a weakness in making sure the food we use is accounted for and waste is minimalized as much as possible. A competency I would like to improve on is CRDN 3.9 Coordinate procurement, production, distribution and promoting responsible use of resources.
1. Gundersen, C. & Ziliak, J. P. (2014). Childhood Food Insecurity in the U.S.: Trends, Causes, and Policy Options. The Future of Children 24(2), 1-19. Princeton University. Retrieved June 25, 2018, from Project MUSE database.