advertisement

Nutritionists discuss school lunch program challenges following 'Lunch Line' screening

Thursday, January 19, 2012 | 9:36 p.m. CST; updated 4:11 p.m. CST, Friday, January 20, 2012

*CORRECTION: An earlier version misstated the job title for the rural sociology staff member.

COLUMBIA — A discussion about the National School Lunch Program and children's need for healthy food took place after a documentary on the subject was shown Thursday.

"Lunch Line," which was played at Ragtag Cinema, outlines the challenges and opportunities faced by the school lunch program around the country. In the conversation that followed, two nutritionists and a rural sociology department staff member* spoke about Columbia's goals.

The discussion was hosted by Laina Fullum, director of nutrition for Columbia Public Schools; Brad Faith, chef of nutrition services for the schools; and Bill McKelvey, project coordinator for the Department of Rural Sociology at MU.

The National School Lunch Program provides schools the ability to serve free or reduced price lunches to children in need.

In Columbia, 42 percent of children qualify for free or reduced price lunches and the number is still growing, Fullum said.

According to the schools' nutrition services, the full price of a lunch for a middle school student is $2.40, while the reduced price is $0.40. The program feeds 14,000 children in Columbia each day, which comes to 1.9 million meals every year, Fullum said.

“Our community has asked us to change,” Fullum said. The district is trying to serve good food that the children will eat, while staying within its budget of about $3 million, she said.

While federal funding is what drives the menu items, the district is working to start the change the community is asking for. Fresh fruits and vegetables are served every day, as well as whole grains.

Faith said one of the difficulties is getting children to eat the healthy food instead of going for chips or pizza. Educating the students about nutrition is one thing that will help to get them to open their minds, he said.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Delcia Crockett January 20, 2012 | 10:23 a.m.

@"According to the schools' nutrition services, the full price of a lunch for a middle school student is $2.40, while the reduced price is $0.40. The program feeds 14,000 children in Columbia each day, which comes to 1.9 million meals every year, Fullum said."

Do the math.

Isn't it worth the investment to make certain each child gets a free lunch, no matter the financial situation of any/all the parents? Why is not lunch time a time scheduled where all equally participate, all eat the healthy menu of a hot, wholesome meal and at no cost to parent or child? If we can do all the other, we should, at least, make certain every child is properply fed on the school ground (at noon in all-day classes) when in care of those in whom we place trust for the well-being of our children. Lunch should be an accepted routine with no differiention of variation among the students. It should just be there, and done. This country can afford that, if it affords nothing else.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 20, 2012 | 11:05 a.m.

There is no free lunch, Bunny. Somebody has to pay, and if those somebodies -- property owners and other taxpayers -- don't want to pay more, then the funding for "free" lunches will come at the expense of other school programs.

As for "no matter the financial situation of any/all the parents," Hawaii is a cautionary tale: That state had to shut down its universal health insurance program for kids because the financial cost wasn't sustainable. Why? Because 85% of enrollees previously had health insurance. Why pay for health insurance -- or lunch -- if someone else will?

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements