Students praise new lunch options

Students praise new lunch options
Posted on 09/26/2018

Joyce Fenner, Director of Food Services “Love, Love, Love the bars!” and other such comments have been coming in since the school kitchens recently started offering new line choices for lunch.  

Selections at the high school and middle school cafés include: Potato Bar, Sandwich Bar, Hamburger Bar, and, of course, everyone’s favorite, Taco Tuesday! In an effort to increase the number of students participating in the National School Lunch Program, changes are happening in the kitchens. These menu ideas stem from student requests and from talking to the cafeteria ladies about what they would like to see more, and, just as importantly, what they would like to see less. For example, this school year, we applied and were approved for a waiver for the whole grain rich (WGR) items that we have been required to serve the past several years. The food service department can now serve some items that are made with white flour instead of the WGR. These items include; tortillas, crackers, spaghetti, macaroni, and flour in recipes such as pie dough – Turkey Turnovers anyone?

Breakfast has not been forgotten either. We are now offering breakfast pizza and other very popular items each week. Grab and Go breakfast choices are still available for those wanting to eat on the run or who are just running late.  

Each building would like to invite parents, grandparents, or other family members to come eat with your student. Some of the buildings have special weeks for the family member to join us for lunch, but keep in mind you are welcome anytime. Eugene Field just wrapped up Grandparent Week with over 150 visitors served. Hawthorne Elementary will be hosting Parent Week on September 24-27. McMillan Elementary will be hosting in the spring. An opportunity to visit the cafés and eat lunch with students is also available to members of the community that volunteer to be lunch buddies. These volunteers are matched with a student, and the volunteer visits for lunch with the student every few weeks, depending on the schedule. This is a very valuable way of giving back and helping to mentor a student. The students get very excited when their “buddy” comes to eat with them.   

What is CEP? Many people are still not familiar with Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).  This is a federally funded program that Mexico School District participates in that helps provide breakfast and lunch free of charge for all enrolled students through 8th grade. Qualifying is based on community need shown through free meal percentages.

The three elementary schools started with this program during the 2014-15 school year, and the middle school was added last year. Since implementing this provision, the participation at these buildings has increased significantly. We are pleased to be able to offer this benefit to families.  New this year, Pre-K has also been added to this program. The high school is not eligible at this time due to not meeting the qualifications of free percentages. Anyone needing assistance for their high school student is encouraged to apply for meal benefits; the applications can be completed online through the district website or paper applications are available at any of the district buildings.  

If anyone has questions regarding food service, please contact Joyce Fenner, Food Service Director at 573-581-3773 ext 2406. USDA and Mexico Public Schools are Equal Opportunity providers.