CCSA’s Meal Services to Compete in the 2019 Durham Bowls

CCSA’s Meal Services and The Whitted School Shine a Light on the Importance of Nutrition in Pre-K at the 2019 Durham Bowls Competition

Chapel Hill, N.C., October 3, 2019: Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is excited to announce its Meal Services Program is participating in the 2019 Durham Bowls competition on Saturday, October 12 from 3-6 p.m. at The Scrap Exchange on 2050 Chapel Hill Road in Durham. Lisa Menna, senior manager of CCSA’s Meal Services Program, and Kameshia Lee of  Durham Public Schools pre-K program at The Whitted School, are teaming up to represent the pre-K age group with their Durham Bowls dish.

Durham Bowls helps raise public awareness about the complexity and incredible potential of school food service in all communities and create a school food engagement model that can be replicated in communities across the country.

Hosted by Durham Public Schools (DPS) and Food Insight Group (FIG), teams must produce delicious meals that meet National School Lunch Program, DPS and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) school food guideline requirements, including a whole grain, protein and vegetable component. The rules are written by Jim Keaten, director of child nutrition for DPS. Teams have been asked to meet the same strict requirements Keaten faces when developing recipes for students in Durham. Students will judge the Durham Bowls samples at a public tasting event October 12.

September was National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and many families in North Carolina face the dual challenge of food insecurity and early childhood obesity. Child care centers play a central role in the development of early eating habits. On average, children receive more than 50 percent of their daily caloric intake at child care. Therefore, the importance of these meals cannot be understated. Nutrition and quality must be prioritized. Sometimes the meals children eat in child care are the only food they get that day. Therefore, it is crucial to feed them nutritious meals and help them develop healthy eating skills as early as possible to fight obesity into their adult years.

CCSA strives to do just that through its Meal Services Program, which provides nutritious meals for nearly 1,300children daily in Durham, Wake and Orange counties. In operation for nearly 30 years, CCSA’s Meal Services provides two nutritious meals and one nutritious snack per day to children enrolled in participating child care centers. Scratch-made meals feature seasonal and local products when possible, meet or exceed all USDA requirements for child care and comply with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

“Early childhood is the time when children are developing lifelong eating habits,” said psychologist Rachel Feuer. “If they become accustomed to eating lots of preparations of healthy vegetables, proteins, legumes and whole grains, they will be at an advantage for their entire life.”

“It’s also an educational process,” said Robert Cates, manager of CCSA’s Meal Services Program’s Chapel Hill kitchen. Trying new foods can be an adjustment for some children, “but the child care centers we’ve been serving for a long time…know how to ease kids into it and help them to appreciate the variety and appreciate things that they’ve never seen before.”

CCSA’s Meal Services Program’s participation in the Durham Bowls competition helps kick off a larger discussion around continuing to make DPS school nutrition a model program that embodies and promotes food justice, equity and quality for the state and nation. It also shines a light on how important it is for children to develop healthy eating habits well before entering elementary school. CCSA’s Meal Services is proud to represent the pre-K age group and highlight the importance of healthy eating in child care settings at the Durham Bowls competition.

Child Care Services Association and The Whitted School are excited for the Durham community to join on Saturday, October 12 and taste their delicious bowl that will be featured on DPS school menus starting this December!

Child Care Services Association

Founded in 1974, Child Care Services Association’s mission is to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for all young children and their families. Using a holistic approach, CCSA supports children and families, helps child care professionals improve the quality of early education children receive and ensures that all families can afford and access the high-quality early care and education that is so important for a child’s early development. Through its Meal Services Program, CCSA also provides nutritious meals to children at child care centers, where they may eat 50-100 percent of their meals. Our T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ programs give child care professionals the means to obtain an education and supplement their salary based on that education. CCSA also licenses T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ across the U.S. and conducts early childhood systems research and policy development statewide and nationally. For more information, visit