School Board Member Ate The Lunch Michelle O Wants For Kids ➠ Her Reaction Says It All!
What just happened at a Denver middle school is the latest example of a lunch program failing to deliver meals students actually like, following the guidelines championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Kepner Middle School’s food problems, however, went beyond seeking to provide lunches that meet the National School Lunch Program guidelines.
Stephanie Torres, a student at Kepner, raised the alarm at a school board meeting about meals not properly prepared, food shortages, and limited choices that prompted a school board member and representatives from Padres y Jóvenes Unidos (“Parents and Youth United”) to make a lunchtime visit to the cafeteria.
School officials accommodated the May 12 visit, but the cafeteria staff was not made aware of it. What the visitors received when they went through the lunch line was shocking.
Chalkbeat Colorado reports that Monica Acosta, lead health justice organizer with Padres, went along on the visit and took a picture of her lunch tray. “It was heartbreaking. That’s the type of food Kepner students have been having all year long,” she said.
The meal included outdated milk, a burned bun, undercooked chicken, an unripened pear (too hard to eat), and frozen strawberries.
Torres and Acosta have reported that the school lunches have improved during the last three weeks since the visit. The Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) nutrition services department met twice with representatives from Padres and parents from other schools where there have been complaints. Acosta says she is grateful for the changes that have been implemented. She believes the school system is “definitely on the right track.”
The DPS plans to put Kepner on a different meal model for next year.
A New York school district announced earlier this week that it is withdrawing one of its schools from the National School Lunch Program altogether. Greater Johnstown School District in update New York determined that the program is exacerbating the school’s budget challenges, due in part to food waste. The district is planning a pilot program at one of its schools, where it will implement a less costly local alternative. More