2006-09-28 / News

School Committee will continue searching for the healthy school lunch

By Donna K. Drago

School Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser and Co-Chairwoman Julie Kallfelz announced that they will be the sub-committee that will further research the issue of providing economically feasible healthy lunches for students at the two Jamestown schools.

At its Sept. 21 meeting Kaiser told the board that she and Kallfelz would work with food service consultant Debra Pini to "get enough info to ask the right questions" when interviewing prospective food service providers.

Currently Jamestown's lunch program is administered and provided by the North Kingstown School Department.

Kallfelz said she spoke to Karen Voci, the director of the Rhode Island Foundation, to see if they would be interested in supporting the revamping of a public school lunch program. But she was told that while they could not underwrite the effort, Voci gave her some additional resources to consult on the subject, Kallfelz said.

Kallfelz said she talked to the staff at KidsFirst, which has worked with the RI Foundation to start a healthy lunch program in the city of Pawtucket. They would be willing to make a presentation to the school board on menu planning, the bidding process with food service vendors, and other topics.

"That's great. We don't have to start from scratch," committee member Julia Held said.

Kallfelz summarized an article in National Geographic magazine that gave details of a typical school lunch in three countries: Russia, Japan, and the United States. In Russia, students eat borscht, a beet soup, with a beef patty, buckwheat, and an apple. Japanese kids get miso soup, cabbage, a soybean item, and rice. The meal that U.S. kids were served was two hot dogs and tater tots, Kallfelz said, adding that the cost was higher than the foods served in the other countries.

The School Committee will discuss the issue when Kaiser and Kallfelz have completed their research, they said.

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