Walk into any school across Sedalia 200 and you will hear these words, “Is it lunchtime yet?"

Debra Wenig, district Food Service director, wants to change the perception of school lunch. “Homemade food from scratch is important,” she said. Her vision is to walk away from the idea that school lunches have to be pre-made and come from a box.

“Children are introduced to ‘trendy’ foods through social media and TV, but in mid-Missouri they may not be able to experience some of these foods,” said Wenig, who wants to make sure children have the opportunity to try new foods while at school. She is not alone in all of this; Josh Turning and Tom Ross of Ben E. Keith, the district’s grocery contractor, are knowledgeable in their field in helping with new menu items and acquiring fresh ingredients for school cooks.

Skyline Elementary’s head cook, Carianne Chappell, shares that students have been so excited to see what’s for lunch. A couple of questions she gets asked regularly:
“Can you give my mom this recipe?"

“Can we have this meal every day?"

“It’s been a lot more work, but it's worth seeing the children enjoy the food,” Chappell said. “The menu has been amazing and the food has been outstanding.”

Ashlea Snapp, a kindergarten teacher at Heber Hunt, said she has eaten more school lunches this year than she has in the past five years combined. She is not alone: Staff across the district are ditching delivery and are signing up for lunch after seeing the new options the menu has to offer.

Snapp said, “The lasagna was hands down better than Olive Garden!"

Some other fan favorites have been pizza with homemade ranch, chicken pot pie, ham dinner, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, and breakfast for lunch.

June Snapp, a teacher at the Loftus Early Childhood Center, said that “staff and students love the fresh fruit."

More students eating school breakfast and lunch has helped families decrease their grocery bills. Ashley Manolias, a Sedalia 200 parent, said that because her children are eating school lunch, that is one less thing she has to worry about. Groceries are too expensive to pack a home lunch every day and she knows her children are actually eating at school this year, they come home bragging about how good the food was..

Kayla Zbornak, a special education teacher at Washington Elementary and Sedalia 200 parent, said she and her son both eat school lunch more frequently than they have in years past.

The district record for most meals served in one day was set Oct. 6 with cheeseburgers on the menu, There were 3,301 meals served.

With so much positive feedback from students, parents, and staff, it is easy to see that Wenig and her Food Service team are doing great things to help the Sedalia 200 community, one meal at a time.
In the photo: Skyline Elementary School Food Service workers, from left, Kim Paul, Carianne Chappell and Danielle Edwards serve lunch to kindergarten students in the school's cafeteria. A new menu this school year has prompted an increase in meals served.


--Submitted by Sedalia School DIstrict 200

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