Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | November 8, 2019

Summer Meals Program Wins State-Wide Honors

Duke Raleigh Hospital earned two statewide honors from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for its summer nutrition program.

The hospital, which served as a sponsor of the North Carolina Summer Food Service Program for the first time this year, earned the NC Rising Star Award and a silver Turnip the Beet award. The awards honor programs who go above and beyond to ensure the meals served to children when school is out are both nutritious and appetizing.

“Through our summer meal program, we focused on providing as many fresh, nutritious offerings as possible daily,” said Neal Seigler, director of environmental and nutritional services at Duke Raleigh Hospital. “Providing nutritious meals and encouraging healthy habits at a young age can help make children more likely to succeed in the future.” 

From June to August, Duke Raleigh Hospital served nearly 700 weekday breakfasts and lunches to children 18 and under through the program.

Stacey Whitehead, a residential supporter with the group home Life Changes, brought children to lunch at the hospital most weekdays. Each day, he said, was a new food adventure.

“We scheduled appointments around lunch at Duke Raleigh Hospital, because the kids loved it,” Whitehead said. “They were introduced to things they had never seen before like salmon, zucchini, bok choy, corn pudding, falafel, and lemon caper couscous.”

Rosalind Blair Sanders, program coordinator with Beginning and Beyond Child Development, brought 24 six-to-11 year-old children for lunch on a Wednesday in August.

“The children were excited to come to the hospital and eat in the cafeteria,” said Sanders. “The staff educated the children about what made a balanced meal and everything was quite pleasing to the palette!”

In addition to serving the two meals on weekdays, Duke Raleigh Hospital offered educational activities for four weeks. These activities were led by hospital team members and others were run through a partnership with the Wake County AmeriCorps VISTAs Program.

Sanders group stayed for the activity—painting rocks for the KidsCan! Program, which helps children who have a parent with cancer—led by Hannah Sasser, Certified Child Life Specialist with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Sanders said the activity was inspiring and gave the children a chance to show off their creativity.

“We joined for lunch and left the hospital with messages of hope for other children,” Sanders said.

Duke Raleigh Hospital was honored with these two state-wide awards at the SummerPalooza! Summit in Greensboro October 24.  

–By Erin McKenzie

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