Dare County Schools Lunch Menu Funded Through DonorsChoose
Women usually arrive a full hour early to work before buses arrive and manage their tasks quickly and efficiently.
School nutrition staff have been hard at work ensuring children remain fed during Dare County Schools’ closure, offering complimentary breakfast and lunch at 17 locations around the county.
Teachers in this district have had 152 projects funded on DonorsChoose; learn more about how you can make an impactful contribution today.
Dare County School District teachers have had 152 projects funded on DonorsChoose so far! Discover more ways you can support teachers in this district.
At TJ’s Gas & Grill in Colington, Amber Dodge (who would be nutrition manager at First Flight High School were it still open), bus drivers Bill Harrison and Lewis Ellis are just finishing unloading meals when two children on bikes pull up and signal to Bill Harrison that two containers of mac and cheese in front of them were their choice – this moment marked the impact of Dare County’s year-round commitment to feeding every child its meals: kids come out on bikes, skateboards or foot to pick up breakfast or lunch from Bill Harrison or Lewis Ellis!
Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard presented at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant in Kill Devil Hills for the 2023 State of the County presentation, discussing issues of top priority to them and those living in Outer Banks communities. At each discussion point, he invited someone who was personally affected to share their insights and experiences with those present.
Woodard first addressed the ongoing effort to secure long-term rental housing for essential members of the local workforce. He invited Autumn Price, who participated in the county’s Recovery Court program before becoming an advocate for those struggling with substance abuse since graduating in December 2022, to share her story and her perspective.
Another top county priority is providing area students with access to top-quality higher education. He addressed the county’s substantial investment in helping students attend College of The Albemarle (COA) at its new COA Dare campus in Manteo rather than commute daily from Elizabeth City.
As part of its support of DonorsChoose’s student scholarship program, Dare County provides low-income schoolchildren access to substantial extra funds for school projects through DonorsChoose scholarships. Since 2012, 152 classroom projects in Dare County schools have received this financial boost through this platform.
Woodard announced that Dare County and across the region are hosting three-day School Nutrition Institutes as a way of providing support for school nutrition professionals. Each institute will feature interactive classroom and kitchen instruction on best practices related to meal preparation, work simplification, merchandising, etc. Attendees will leave with a toolkit of resources and a host of new ideas they can implement within their districts to increase the quality of school meals and overall dining experiences for students.
Whole Grain Breads
Recently, several days prior to lunchtime, Kelleta Govan or one of her team arrived at one of Dare County’s 17 school nutrition sites with the first school nutrition bus and started dispensing meals from it. While their usual planning process allows for further preparation in advance, their current planning efforts involve seeing what can be transported out to remote locations and what items exist within their kitchens.
At TJ’s Gas & Grill in Colington, three boys and one girl riding bikes approach the nutrition team on bikes. When approached by one of the nutrition team’s girls, three mac and cheese containers and a bag of sides were immediately given out while pedaling away.
School lunch menus featuring whole grain products provide children with an excellent way to meet their nutritional needs, particularly fiber intake. All grains begin as seeds that grow in fields; when harvested and consumed as bread, cereals, or pasta, they provide numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cholesterol reduction.
DonorsChoose aims to close this funding gap by engaging the public to fund projects that increase resources at predominantly student-of-color schools.
State legislators were quick to respond to the chicken nugget controversy that has gripped conservative talk shows and websites by passing legislation barring school officials from inspecting homemade lunches for nutritional balance. Backed by both the state education department and school food service organizations, this bill will prevent school nutrition directors from checking home-packed meals brought by students who don’t use cafeteria meals as part of their lunch service.
The bill passed both Houses without much controversy and is headed for Governor John.
McCrory signed it. It will go into effect this August, applying to all public and private schools with cafeterias. State education department officials say they will collaborate with local school districts in enforcing this new law.
At one point in the debate, state Representative G.L. Pridgen (R-Hoke), a former teacher and school administrator, made an impassioned plea that schools not be forced to pay for “McFrankenstein” lunches consisting of both thigh meat and wings – saying taxpayer dollars shouldn’t continue subsidizing such unhealthy options. “We cannot continue spending taxpayer dollars subsidizing such unhealthy meals.”
Schools across the nation can save money by participating in a state program that allows them to process commodity foods like beef and chicken legs. But school-food reform advocates warn that participating in this state program adds sodium and fat to the food products.
Dare County Schools offered free summer meals this year across Dare County schools, such as Cape Hatteras Elementary and Manteo Elementary schools. Kelleta Govan and her staff usually plan weeks, but on this particular day, with limited transportation resources, they had to improvise their transportation needs and use only what was available – like when two bike-riding kids came riding up. When one worker tried serving them two meals each, their hands waved up in the air as a signal that two meals were desired from Kelleta Govan, who responded that two kids arrived cycling by.