Following last year’s 2020 COVID-era Summer Food Service program in the Sulphur Springs School District, the 2021 program has been a lot easier. Veronica Arnold, SSISD Director of Child Nutrition, stated that the return to sit-down meals in the cafeteria and allowing kids the opportunity to select their own foods has brought back a sense of tradition and normalcy to the program. On the average, about 80 youngsters come in for Breakfast, and about 100 are served at Lunch. Since June, both meals have been offered to youngsters age 18 and younger each Monday through Thursday at the Barbara Bush Primary campus. The meals are free and require no application, registration or qualification is needed.
There are five kitchen staff on the weekly schedule who prepare meals, clean and order supplies. Two other employees make up the office staff; Arnold and administrative assistant Christina Munoz. According to Arnold, the program can purchase foods at a reduced cost through the Region 8 Service Center, as part of membership in a food co-op. Each nutritious lunch must provide bread, meat, fruits and vegetables. “It’s important the the kids have the opportunity to select what goes on their tray. That’s how we do it here. They need to choose at least 2 items, but what those are are up to them. Last year, we prepared the packaged meals, and there was probably a lot of waste, with foods in there that some may not have liked. Now, they can select the hamburger but turn down the lettuce, let’s say. And they can take the milk, or they don’t have to. It’s a better system, and one that lets them demonstrate individual tastes. They also get to sit with others and that leads to a healthy, happy atmosphere when they come here for meals. We would just like to have had more children participating!”
The SSISD Summer Food Service program ends July 22, 2021. School starts in Sulphur Springs ISD on Wednesday August 18, 2021.