President John F. Kennedy created the National School Lunch Week (NSLW) in 1962 as a way to promote the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which currently serves almost 100,000 schools across the nation. The tradition continues to this day, and District 214 has always participated. This year being no exception, Prospect and the district will celebrate NSLW next week, Oct. 14-18.
According to Food and Nutrition Services manager Donna Rogers, while the event’s stated purpose is to promote healthy eating, another reason for participating is to promote Prospect’s own lunch program, which she feels not many students take advantage of.
“When you think about it, for three dollars for a lunch, you’re getting the whole meal,” Rogers said. “You’re getting the entreé with the sides and maybe something else versus buying something else that’s more expensive comparatively.”
To help promote the school’s own program, the cafeteria will be serving samples of new recipes that might be implemented into the permanent menu if students express an interest in them. Examples of possible dishes include a new tater tot recipe, stir fries, various wraps and even a new pizza. During lunch hours, Rogers plans to have a table set up with the samples in little cups, similar to those at a grocery store, and boxes marked “yes” and “no.” After tasting the food, students will place the cups in one of the boxes depending on their opinion of the recipe. At the end of each day, Rogers will total the votes for each dish and will use that data to determine the future of each item.
In addition, each school in the district, including Prospect, is having a raffle drawing, which not sponsored by the NSLP and is only meant to promote the event. Prospect’s prize is a pair of Beats headphones. Students can obtain raffle tickets every time they buy a lunch, so they end up with multiple tickets by the end of the week. The drawing will take place on Monday, Oct. 21, according to Rogers.
Rogers hopes that this year, students will participate more as a result of the samples and raffles, as opposed to past years. For example, last year, there was a recipe contest, but few students participated.
“Our hope is by doing something like this that maybe the kids would be interested in participating,” Rogers said.
Overall, Rogers hopes the week will be a success and students will become more involved in helping the cafeteria staff to find new healthy foods that appeal to both teenagers and adults alike.
“We want to make what everybody wants,” Rogers said. “Part of being healthy is getting students and staff to eat it.”