Public schools across Frederick County will celebrate National School Lunch Week from October 14-18, 2019. The theme, “School Lunch: What’s on Your Playlist,” spotlights how today’s school cafeterias are serving healthy menu items that kids want to eat, with increased choice and customization.
“School lunches offer students fruits and vegetables, whole grains and milk, and meet federal nutrition standards limiting fat, calories and sodium,” says Bob Kelly, senior manager of FCPS Food and Nutrition Services. “National School Lunch Week helps us educate parents and students about all the benefits of our lunch program and the appealing variety of choices in the cafeteria.”
Seven elementary schools participate in a program that educates second and third graders about how food is grown. During National School Lunch Week, Lincoln Elementary second graders will learn about plums grown at the Catoctin Mountain Orchard in Thurmont. Last month, Monocacy Elementary third graders learned about spaghetti squash grown at Summer Creek Farm in Thurmont. FCPS Food and Nutrition Services specialists Monica Skidmore and Sean Thomson and FCPS Farm-to-School partner Alysia Feuer visit the schools and, when possible, include the farmer, a master gardener or someone from the local University of Maryland Extension Office. Upcoming Harvest of the Month visits are planned for Ballenger Creek, Brunswick, Hillcrest, North Frederick and Whittier Elementary Schools. Find out more about the Farm-to-School program at FCPS: https://www.frederickmdfarmtoschool.org/
The federally funded National School Lunch Program has been fueling students for success for more than 70 years, Kelly says. At FCPS, elementary students can enjoy the convenience of a healthy school lunch for just $2.65. Middle and high school student lunches cost $2.90. Some students may qualify for free or reduced-price meals. FCPS has created and posted videos about free and reduced-price meal applications on YouTube at https://youtu.be/IC7IOSRppPM (English) and https://youtu.be/4HLmi3DabOQ (Spanish).
“We recommend that parents complete a Meal Benefit Application, available online at www.fcps.org/meals and from local schools," says Kelly. "Although applications must be submitted each school year, only one is required per family each year. In addition to lunches, breakfasts are available at every school. Schools with demonstrated need are able to serve breakfasts free to students schoolwide. At elementary schools that don’t qualify for free breakfasts in the classroom, the full-price cost is $1.60. At middle and high schools, a full-price breakfast is $1.85.”
Parents and students can watch additional FCPS videos about school meals at www.fcps.org/meals and follow the fun using the hashtags #NSLW19, #SchoolLunchPlaylist and #SchoolLunch. The “School Lunch Playlist” campaign is made possible by the nonprofit School Nutrition Association. For more information about National School Lunch Week, visit https://schoolnutrition.org/nslw/.