In the Newman-Crows Landing United School District, the food service program has done well with participation and finances in the past couple of years. So with lunch participation numbers going strong, they have decided to focus more on the breakfast part of the program this year. Good nutrition for students who may not be eating well or even at all is extremely important, although the financial aspect is something the district must consider. Fresh healthy vending is important for kids to eat right and get their needed vitamins and nutrients even while in school.
Sodexo, a privately-owned food service company, has partnered with the school district for more than four years. The money that the kids spend on food in the schools is then put back into the system so that the program is enriched. This year, a large part of the $230,000 made in profits will be used to equip a new kitchen in the Hurd Barrington Elementary School, which is slated to open next fall. Some profits will also be used to buy mobile carts for the new breakfast program, as well as prizes for a district-wide food service promotion.
Fresh vending is very important in the health of children. Since the school district has teamed up with Sodexo, the lunch program has dramatically increased. For example, Orestimba High sees between 50 to 60 percent of students eating lunch on campus. Before Sodexo became the supplier, only 10-15 percent were eating lunches that were purchased. Fresh vending programs have great promise and should be considered for all schools.
“That says a lot for the quality of the lunch menu offered, especially with an open campus,” remarked Darlene Miller, Sodexo manager assigned to the district. Many studies have shown that it is crucial to eat healthy in the morning in order to have physical strength and good brain activity during the day. Fresh healthy vending options for kids is imperative to help them stay focused and energized during the long school day. Students may not be able to eat at home, or may not have the chance to or even be given breakfast. The school district hopes to help students by offering them a program called “Second Chance Breakfast.”
This program will launch at Hunt Elementary in October and gives the children a chance to enjoy a continental-style breakfast in the morning, and is offered as a reimbursable meal.
“Kids who eat breakfast learn better and we want all of our students to go into their classrooms well fed,” Mendoza explained.