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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Lunch is served

Carter County food service staff recognized at recent school board meeting

Miranda H. Lewis

Carter County Times

School meals are a critical safety net for vulnerable children and households when some thirty-four million people are food insecure in the United States, including nine million children, according to the USDA.

The critical role that school lunch plays in providing children with the nutrition they need to learn and thrive both in and out of the classroom is more important than ever as communities continue to overcome the educational, health, and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Green began the school board meeting on Monday, May 15 by commending the food service staff for their hard work transforming the Child Nutrition Program to meet the community’s needs.

He stated that members of the food service department work diligently to provide breakfast and lunch to over 4,000 students in Carter County.

Green further acknowledged the cafeteria staff for their tireless effort and for providing students with healthy meals, which for some may be the only warm meal they receive in a day.

Not only is school lunch crucial to student health and well-being, but the National School Lunch Program is especially critical for low-income students.

The pandemic exacerbated food insecurity among families with children. Although many families across the country are faced with hunger as a long term effect of the pandemic, rural communities tend to have higher levels of hunger.

Food insecurity is at an all-time high in Kentucky.

According to the USDA, one in seven children face hunger.

Simply put, students across the state rely on school lunch to receive the nutrition they need throughout the day to learn.

Staff members of the Child Nutrition Services across Carter County ensure that students have the nutrition they need for proper development, academic achievement, and mental health.

“Our staff has an amazing combination of talent, skills, and attitude that help make our ten cafeterias across the district successful! It is an honor and privilege to collaborate with these employees daily,” said Tiffany Felty, Child Nutrition Director. “There aren’t enough words for me to express the appreciation I have for the job they do and the service they provide to our district.”

According to Felty, every student in Carter County receives free breakfast and lunch.

“For the 2022-23 school year we had a breakfast participation rate of 54% and a lunch participation rate of 70% district wide,” she added.

It is imperative to the Carter County school system that meals meet nutrition standards and, in turn, have a positive impact on student food selection and consumption, especially for fruits and vegetables.

“This school year we have made a concentrated effort to look at our participation rates on specific days, speak to managers and staff at our schools, and survey students on what meals they really enjoy and what items they think should be taken off of the menus,” noted Felty of the districts nutritional program.

Lunch menus for the 2023-24 school year will be modified because of these conversations, she shared.

“Based on the recommendations of those groups of people and individuals, our schools are offering a variety of menu options for breakfast and for lunch and we are offering grab and go breakfast as well as breakfast after the bell to try and encourage our students to participate in our breakfast and lunch programs,” announced Felty.

Carter County will be offering free meals at two locations this summer.

“On the west end, West Carter High School, and Prichard on the east end. The summer feeding program will run from June 5 – July 21,” Felty said in closing.

The following individuals were recognized for their contributions to Carter County’s Child Nutrition Program:

District Office:

Wanetta James

Christa Holbrook

Carter City Elementary:

Ashley Jordan

Verlena Turner

East Carter High School:

Dorothy Cordle

Tonya Bailey

Cierra Dearfield

Sandy Middleton

Deanna Mabry

Susan LeMaster

Bobbie BoCook

East Carter Middle School:

Debra Potter

Samantha Bradshaw

Mary Oney

Lynette Rogers

Ronald Seagraves

Michelle Ingles

Heritage Elementary School:

Tempest Flaugher

Shirley McGranahan

Wanda Oney

Debbie Steadman

Brooke Berry

Alma Bowling

Olive Hill Elementary:

Viola Middleton

Dorothy Goodan

Rita Moore

Edna Colegrove

Jamie McGlone

Rebecca Stevens

Prichard Elementary:

Linda Smith

Evelyn Grills

Edna Patino

Carol Baker

Jody Miller

Deanna Conley

Loretta Reynolds

Bonnie Wilburn

Michelle Gollihue

Star Elementary:

Brenda Eldridge

Charlene Sloas

Tygart Creek Elementary:

Marie Skaggs

Mary Brown

Penny Jessie

Vanessa Middleton

Jennifer Douglas

West Carter High School:

Bonnie Hamilton

Ericka Gearheart

Frances Grantham

Tammy Sparks

Wanda Lewis

Clara McCoy

Edna Vaughn

Judy Wilburn

West Carter Middle School:

Rhonda P’Simer

Melanie Barker

Melissa Caudill

Felicia Kitchen

Rebekah Payton

Debbie Stapleton

Kayla Lewis

Contact the writer at miranda@cartercountytimes.com



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