Sheboygan Falls Feeds Its Students, Even Those At Home
Some Sheboygan Falls School District students may not be in their classrooms this year but they still have a real taste of school. The district food service department is working hard to make sure all of its students including those home bound because of COVID or other reasons receive nutritious school breakfasts and lunches.
“Parents are so appreciative, and never realized how lunch was a connection for their child as being an important part to their day.” says Amy Lawrenz, food nutrition director for the Sheboygan Falls School District.
When the district shut down last March at the start of the pandemic, the foodservice department stayed open to provide meals to students who needed them. Nearly 60,000 meals were served from March to June, using a drive-through pick up system.
When school opened this fall, about 80% of students returned to their classrooms for face to face instruction. Others opted to receive virtual instruction at home because of health concerns or other reasons. The food service department set up a program to provide meals for those students learning at home, as well as for students who were home sick or quarantined due to exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID.
Families are given an order form each week to fill out and return. They are then able to pick up meals at a specific time and date at Sheboygan Falls Middle School. Students who attend school in person can also opt to bring a meal home on days when school was closed.
All students are eligible for the meals, not just those who qualify for free and reduced meals. The meals are substantial and nutritious.
“It has given parents an idea of what we serve at school. We serve our virtual students the same things we serve our in person students,” Lawrenz explains, adding that the menu ranges from Asian orange chicken with rice to hamburgers, chicken patties, chicken nuggets, popcorn chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and of course, pizza slices or mini pizzas.
“It's a wide variety. It's not just PB & J. But the students love them as well. They have a variety of fruit and vegetables to meet the federal guidelines that we have to follow,” she adds.
Parents have been very appreciative, she says, sharing several parent comments:
"Thanks so much for all the delicious meals, they are greatly appreciated."
"My child so looks forward to seeing what is in the bag and what's for breakfast or lunch"
"My child says that the meals make them still feel like they are still in school and makes them feel like it's the same routine as if in school, they feel connected."
"The meals have helped financially for us, it has lessened the stress."
"My student loves the carton of milk! It's not out of a gallon jug and reminds him of school.”
According to Lawrenz, the free meal pickup benefits the district as well by helping to reduce food waste, as a large portion of the district’s food supply is ordered a school year in advance. It also helps the local and state economy, as it keeps farmers and vendors in business.
“We are a small business in the school, we run off our budget and must be self reliant. Our funds cover the food cost, wages, equipment, and so forth,” Lawrenz adds. “So our only means for revenue is to serve our customers, and it doesn't matter the age.”
For more information, please contact Amy Lawrenz at 920-550-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.