Top 10 Reasons to Involve the PTA/PTOs in School Food Service

Parent, Teacher Associations/Organizations are a tremendous force for good.  In the communities where they serve, they support the students in numerous ways, helping maintain a solid foundation of parental support student activities.  Because of their strong influence, there are many benefits for involving them with school food service.  Here are the top 10:

  1. PTA/PTOs already have a functioning network for disseminating information. This network between parents and teachers can be used for announcements related to school food changes, asking for volunteers to help in the cafeteria with events like taste tests, and even asking for suggestions for other healthy food related events.
  2. PTA/PTOs can champion school food service in newsletters and PTA sponsored events.If your local PTA disseminates a periodic newsletter, it can act as a forum where school food service announces it successes, school meal changes and other advocates voice their support and satisfaction with school food service.
  3. PTA/PTOs have the manpower to help organize and carry out school food service sponsored events. For example, there could be a taste-testing event where parents and students are served samples and can vote on new items to be incorporated into the menu.
  4. PTA/PTOs can help facilitate role modeling in the area of school food. Role modeling is an extremely important aspect of childhood learning. First, parent volunteers can sign up to eat school lunches with students of all ages.  This will help promote school food as well as healthy choices.  In addition, PTAs can help coordinate events where older students attend lunch periods of younger students to be examples of healthy choices and promote school food.  For example, middle school students can have lunch with elementary school students and high school athletes can have lunch with middle school students and demonstrate healthy eating.  Local heroes or sports figures can sit with high school students and be their role models.
  5. PTA/PTOs can help organize Chefs Move to Schools events. Some parents may be chefs in local restaurants “adopt their school” to work with the food services to train and develop new dishes. Other parents and teachers might have the professional contacts necessary to find a willing chef, or the necessary resources to help carry out and advertise a related event.
  6. PTA/PTOs can help facilitate and oversee school gardens. These organizations can work with school food service to use and feature herbs and produce grown at the school
  7. PTA/PTOs can help to coordinate student involvement organizations. Student Nutrition Action Committees (SNACs) can be valuable resources for school food service to work with students.  Parents and teachers can help coordinate efforts between students, teachers, and parents to establish these committees. 
  8. PTA/PTO members  that champion school food can act as liaisons. These liaisons can coordinate communication between the food service director, teachers, and parents; and work to establish good rapport between food service and the school community.
  9. PTA/PTO members have professional contacts that can help extend the reach of school food service.  These professional contacts can provide venues where school food service can promote its foods or champion its successes.  In addition, professional contacts could help generate donations of time or money that facilitate efforts in outreach and enhancing perceptions related to school food.
  10. PTA/PTO members have skills and knowledge that cover a variety of professions.  For example, individuals with experience in marketing or communication can provide valuable advice to school food service directors for creating positive image, or generating more hype around school food.