| Craven County Schools
As a reader, you may first ask yourself, “What is National School Lunch Week?” Then for most of us, after discovering the response to our what, may be inclined to ask concerning why, “Why celebrate National School Lunch Week?” Craven County School Nutrition have those answers for you.
Every year since 1962, schools across the country celebrate National School Lunch Week. This celebration occurs during the second full week of October. During National School Lunch Week, schools try to bring awareness to the healthy school meals being served across the country. This year it will be held October 12th through October 16th. However, trying to celebrate the week during a pandemic and while students are learning virtually, certainly has posed a challenge for our department. With the tenacity to still make this week a celebration and have students come out and pick up meals through the drive through pick up locations, we decided to use this year’s theme to inspire them and make that happen.
The theme for this year is “Now Playing.” I know that phrase doesn’t at first say food. At least for me I think of the movies. But what I also think about is the anticipation of finally seeing the words “Now Playing” when a movie I have been anticipating comes out. Well for our students we wanted to put an end to their anticipation. What will be playing on this year’s menu during National School Lunch Week are those snacks that our students have been unable to purchase from the school cafeterias since the pandemic started. We have chosen 5 of their favorite snack items based on previous sales to offer to our students as a bonus item. Although the word “snack” is sometimes viewed as unhealthy and offers no nutritional value, the same is not true for snacks served to students in school systems. All the snack items that are being offered during National School Lunch Week are smart snack approved. This means that they meet certain requirements by the United States Department of Agriculture. They must be part of a major food group, meaning the first ingredient must contribute to a protein, fruit or vegetable or whole grain. In addition to that requirement, smart snacks must also contain limited fat, sugar, sodium and calories. It was not a difficult job for the staff at the nutrition department to come up with the 5 items to offer to our students. Families have been receiving tickets to “Now Playing” to redeem during National School Lunch Week. The snacks that are “Now Playing” include; a whole grain chocolate chip cookie, a low sodium whole grain Nacho Doritos bag of chips, whole grain rice krispie treat and a fan favorite a Switch beverage, which is made with 100% juice with some added fizz.
Based on the tickets that have been given out the past week, we anticipate a crowd at our drive through pick up sites at the schools. A sight that will make this year’s National School Lunch Week a success indeed!
A Look Inside Feeding Students Meals at School Upon Return
For most families, the unknown surrounding the safety of their student(s) upon returning to in person learning can be daunting including how school meals. The School Nutrition Department at Craven County Schools have been working diligently to create a plan that aligns with the district’s safety measures to ensure that our students are safe even during meal service times.
Our goal is to continue to provide safe nutritious meals to our students while they are attending in-person learning and also while they continue learning virtually. While students are in school they will be served mainly a hot breakfast and a hot lunch daily. Breakfast items will consist of menu options that includes; chicken biscuit, breakfast pizza, egg with sliced ham and cheese on a croissant bun, toast with scrambled eggs and yogurt parfaits. Unlike breakfast, students will have a choice between 2 options for lunch. One option will be the hot home plate and the other will resemble a grab and go sub sandwich or hot sandwich type meal. All meals will be served in unitized format as a safety measure. Another safety measure included to facilitate safety while eating is that meals will be eaten in the child’s classroom where they will be socially distanced from their peers.
Apart from feeding our students while they are in school, we have derived a way to provide for them while they are learning at home or at community hub sites. All students will receive meal kits to take home on their last day of in-person learning for the number of days they will be learning at home during the school week. Meal kits will consist of a breakfast and lunch entrée with the required sides and a milk for the total number of days for virtual learning. These meals will be sent home frozen with storage and reheating instructions. However, families that do not wish to have the meal kits can opt out of the meal kits by declining these meals on a form that will be made available to them by their child’s individual school. Additionally, families that opt out of meal kits will be given a placard which allows them to still participate in meals daily via the schools’ drive through pick up meal sites. These drive through pick up sites will continue to remain open daily between 11:00am – 1:00pm. Students enrolled in Craven LIVE (all virtual learning), will also be able to pick up meals daily via the drive through pick up locations.
Many of the community hub sites that have been available to our students since the start of school year will continue to operate to support our students’ learning. Families that plan to continue to use hub sites on the days’ students are not doing in-person learning, can also opt out of meal kits. The community hub sites will provide a roster of students attending these sites for our process to be verified for accuracy.
Despite which method families choose for us to serve their child(ren), we hope that you will not be concerned about the safety of your child while they eat with us.