Tag Archives: October

What Is National School Lunch Week

School lunch

The Importance of National School Lunch Week

Across the United States, millions of school-aged children don’t get enough to eat when they’re away from home. Schools across the nation, including day care, nursery, elementary, Middle and High Schools are equipped with kitchens or cafeterias that are able to provide for the nutritional needs of students while they’re on campus.

Eating properly is important to not only growth, but health as well, and the pervasive fast-food dieting habits that many American have adopted have caused a huge increase in the rate of childhood obesity around the country. Children and teens attending school need to be offered healthy alternatives to fast food whenever possible, and the National School Lunch Act provides for those needs. First started in 1946, the National School Lunch Program ensures that every American student has access to a nutritionally balanced lunch while at school on a daily basis. Such lunch programs provide adequate amounts of nutritious food, as well as variety, that teach children to make wiser choices when it comes to eating at least one meal out of their daily food requirements.

National School Lunch Week is observed in every school in the United States during the first or second week of every October. School cafeterias throughout the nation are open to not only students, but parents as well, in an effort to show parents that nutritional guidelines are being followed and that their children are being served attractive, healthy and tasty food. Throughout America, schools are required to provide at least one meal per day to all children, and that meal must meet federal nutrition standards.

President John F. Kennedy established the National School Lunch Week program in 1963, and this weeklong event serves as a way to focus on every school’s responsibility to provide balanced meals for children of all ages. Every year, school districts and campuses from Washington State to Maine, and from North Dakota to the depths of Texas choose a different theme. America’s children are our precious commodities, and they need to be assured that proper eating habits and instruction will accompany a general school education. Because lack of proper exercise and physical education classes are causing today’s children to grow more sedentary, it’s important to ensure that they are eating diets low in fats and sugars, while still offering adequate amounts of proteins, fibers and carbohydrates. National School Lunch Week draws attention to school menus across America.

While we all remember the school cafeteria lunches of our past, perhaps even with a grimace, today’s school cafeterias cater to the demands of finicky children. Menus offer spaghetti, chicken and tacos, macaroni and cheese and pizza, as well as salads, vegetables and desserts. These offerings don’t taste like the cardboard most of us grew up with however, but are appealing as well as nutritious. Millions of schools across the country try to constantly update their menu selections and tastes to please kids of all ages, and use whole wheat in spaghetti and pizza offerings to encourage more healthy options when it comes to old standards.

Children’s health is an important matter not only to schoolteachers and principals, but also to the cafeteria support staff assigned to feed those children. Hungry students make poor students, and malnutrition can impair growth, health and cognitive abilities. Millions of dieticians and school cooks work year round to provide fun, healthy and beneficial food to those who normally don’t have access to a decent lunch. The next time National School Lunch Week rolls around in your local school district, drop on by for a taste of what’s available on the cafeteria school lunch menu. You may be pleasantly surprised.

How to Celebrate Oktoberfest


Observing Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest is one of the most fun-filled ethnic holidays celebrated in the United States. Observed mostly by those of German descent, Oktoberfest is a time of happy celebration and of history and traditions that have been passed down in German bloodlines for centuries.

This popular of holidays celebrated in America that is not specifically of American origin. Millions of Germans immigrants and their descendents live in the United States, many of them congregated in states like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Oktoberfest is a celebration that comes from the region of Bavaria, in Germany. It’s a celebration known for beer and good times. Today, countries around the world, from Asia to Africa, celebrate their own versions of the original German holiday. Oktoberfest celebrations can be found in most communities throughout the United States every year, and such celebrations can be scheduled anywhere from June to November, though as the name implies, they are generally celebrated in the month of October. In the United States, the majorities of Oktoberfest celebrations occur in September or October and are typically sponsored and organized by German restaurants or societies. While many celebrations of Oktoberfest can last for several days, or even a week, most such celebrations in the United States last about three days. Some Oktoberfest events attract hundreds of thousands of visitors and participants from around the country.

At an Oktoberfest celebration, visitors and revelers are regaled with the sights and sounds of Germany, including music, traditional costumes and food. The beer and food is what Oktoberfest is mostly known for in the United States. Thousands of pounds of pork sausages, pork knuckles, fish and chicken are consumed every year at every Oktoberfest event throughout America, as well as millions of gallons of various types of beer, including non-alcoholic beer. Barrels of wine, coffee and tea, in addition to lemonade and water are served at Oktoberfest celebrations around the country, but it is the beer that is the star of the show. It’s a time for dancing and music, for food and drink.

But what is Oktoberfest? Many people who attend an Oktoberfest celebration haven’t the faintest idea of what they’re celebrating, but they do enjoy the laughter, entertainment and a rich variety of ethnic German cooking. Actually, Oktoberfest originally celebrated the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became a king, to Princess Therese in October of 1810. Inhabitants of Munich, Germany, were invited to join the celebration in the fields before the city gates to help observe the happy occasion. Those fields are still known today as Theresienwiese, or ‘Theresa’s Fields’, though they are more commonly called Wies’n now. At any rate, special events were held to entertain both the royal couple and the celebrants, including horse races and plenty of food and drinks for all. The event was held the following year as well, and for decades after, though most of those celebrations offered merely horse races and food. Later years saw the added attractions of carousels and swings for the amusement of children amusement, and in 1896, beer tents that offered the latest and newest beers from local breweries replaced the first beer stands. By the mid 1800’s, the festival took on new form with a fair type environment. While the horse races stopped, they were replaced with fair-type booths and entertainments until the 1870’s. Today, Oktoberfest is the largest ‘party’ in the world and millions of travelers and visitors visit the Bavarian city of Munich every year to celebrate the event that has lasted for centuries. The event, still held in Theresa’s fields, draws many different races and cultures to a country steeped in history and traditions that have been passed down for generations. For Americans who celebrate the event in the United States, it’s a time to appreciate and learn about a different culture and way of life, one that will endure in this country as long as there are Germans to celebrate Oktoberfest!

How to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

hispanic heritage month

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Every September and October, Hispanics across the United States celebrate, honor and remember their rich heritage, no matter which state they live in. Originally begun in 1968, National Hispanic week eventually grew to incorporate a 30-day period of time in which contributions and advancements created and instituted by Americans with Hispanic roots are celebrated.

The month is a time when school children across the country receive an in-depth look at the culture and history of Mexico and South America, as well as early American settlers who hailed from Mexico. Traditions, foods, celebrations and profiles of famous Mexican-Americans are explored and honored. In cities around the United States with a heavy Hispanic population, huge festivities are often enjoyed by thousands of Americans, no matter what their ethnic or cultural backgrounds. Dances, parades, special events and gatherings are held throughout communities in order to reflect and remember the contributions of Hispanics throughout the history of the United States.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is also a time when immigration and educational issues are addressed, as well as actions that assure that everyone who enters America legally be offered adequate resources for information regarding citizenship and all its benefits. The observance of Hispanic Heritage Month is relegated mainly to school districts, and children of all ages often celebrate the time with events that display the cultural traditions of Hispanic peoples. Traditional clothing and foods are often explored and enjoyed, as well as the music and language of Spanish speaking people. Many classrooms invite local Hispanic restaurant personnel into their classrooms to prepare traditional cooking lessons and ‘taste-feasts’ for children in elementary and middle school levels, and High Schools often celebrate with in-depth lesson plans and scheduled event speakers who come to their schools to discuss everything from traditional clothing to the increasing contributions of Hispanics in American society.

The observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month officially begins on September 15th and ends on October 15th of every year. Educational events and issues of education are often in the forefront of current events during this one-month period of time, when bilingual education and services are often the focal point of seminars, conferences and community meetings around the country.

School districts around the country typically set aside this period of time to focus on the contributions of Hispanic Americans and those from Latin American countries who have furthered science, art and political causes in America and in their native countries. In cities with large Hispanic populations, millions gather to honor the memories or contributions of Hispanic men and women who have fought for equal rights, equal pay, and for political change within America. States like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, who have large populations of Hispanics, often host sister-city exchange programs that encourage good relations both north and south of the border between high-school age children.

City streets are often decorated with piñatas and the smell of tamales, enchiladas and chili often wafts on afternoon breezes. The sound of lively Hispanic music fills the air, as do the sounds of celebration and laughter. Many cities host large, public dances and events that bring many different races and cultures together, which strengthens communities and fosters good relations between all.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is an important time for all Americans to remember that this country has a history of and continues to be the greatest ‘melting pot’ in the world. This period is celebrated in every state in America, as the cultures and contributions of the Hispanic community have always been, and will always be, a constant in the fabric of American life.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month


Recognizing diversity and skills is sometimes lacking when people see someone who is handicapped in any manner. Yet, handicapped people are often able to offer as much to the workplace as any other person, and should not be discriminated against. Being disabled doesn’t mean inability to work or hold a job. It’s just a setback, one that can be overcome with determination on the part of the disabled, and understanding and knowledge on the part of any employer.

After World War Two, hundreds of thousands of injured soldiers returned to civilian life, many of them permanently maimed or disabled. Such disabilities didn’t stop them from wanting to work, to earn a living and provide for their families. In 1945, Congress enacted a law that declared the first ‘National Employ to the Physically Handicapped’ week, to address the needs of those soldiers. Today, veterans from every state in the Union, with varying degrees of disabilities, hold positions of employment in every work sector. Not only a veteran, but also anyone who is disabled, has the right to pursue gainful employment today.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, observed every October, is a time for not only employers, but also citizens throughout the country to realize that disabled persons have just as much to offer the workplace as anyone else. The weeks serves to showcase the efforts made on behalf of employers around the country to use to the fullest the intelligence, abilities and managerial skills that many disabled people can offer to many different career fields. National recognition of the day didn’t really take off until the late 1980’s, and the name of the week was changed to ‘National Employ the Handicapped Week’. It’s a time for all people to face challenges and to test beliefs. Expanding technology now offers handicapped people access to places than ever before, and their contributions to industries throughout the United States should not be overlooked.

Today, regulations prevent employers from discriminating against handicapped people when they show they are able to perform the tasks and duties specific jobs entail, but the most well known is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which guarantees that as a nation, America will not underestimate the capabilities of handicapped people regardless of their disabilities. The law is vital in helping workers with disabilities not only find jobs, but keep them as well.

Due to accidents, war, and medical illness, thousand of Americans are stricken with one kind of disability or another every year. These people need jobs and income, and providing jobs for people with disabilities not only helps them, but America as a whole. When disabled persons are allowed to work and support themselves, their care is no longer relegated to the government. Ultimately, Americans save money on their taxes and the disabled are treated as they deserve to be.

Schools around the country, as well as public service organizations, try to encourage all disabled people, regardless of age, to challenge not only the public at large, but themselves as well, to work and provide services for any kind of business. Being handicapped doesn’t prevent many people from working, but the discrimination of employers keeps them from such endeavors. Nationwide campaigns prevail every October in an effort to provide information and inform the public on the limitless skills, ideas and creativity that can be found in every American, disabled or not.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a time that is observed and recognized for the encouragement and support of all disabled Americans that it, and its millions of supporters nationwide, offer. Every citizen of the United States has something to offer, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional, and unique abilities exist within all Americans. National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity for each America to recognize that fact, and embrace it.