Breakfast and lunch time at Colonial School District schools will become even tastier and more nutritious, thanks to some new equipment that will be purchased as part of a $65,000 grant to the district's Food Service Department.
Lori McCoy, Food Service Director, was one of two recipients nationally to be awarded the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Equipment Grant for school meal program equipment. SNF is the charitable arm of the non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA). Grants were offered to assist school nutrition professionals around the country, who are facing continued challenges stemming from the pandemic.
Ms. McCoy applied for the equipment grant to help replace aging equipment, which can be costly to repair or hard to fix if the replacement parts can't be found.
"We have recently been awarded a grant to incorporate more local foods into our meals and the SNF Equipment Grant will now make this initiative even better," said Ms. McCoy. "Having new equipment can help us control labor costs, provide higher quality meals, serve students in a more timely manner and help our overall goal of increasing meal participation."
Some of the new equipment that will be purchased through the grant includes:
- Mobile merchandiser carts, which will enable quick purchase of grab-and-go meal options and help keep breakfast sandwiches warmer longer, allowing for more breakfast options for students.
- A tamper-evident bag-sealing machine for Colonial Elementary School, which would prevent spilling and cross-contamination for take-home meals, improving upon the labor-intensive bagging process.
- A new combi oven for Plymouth Elementary School, which would help upgrade the equipment capacity needed for the school's growing enrollment. Combi ovens cook using steam and convection simultaneously, so more nutritious and appealing food can be prepared in shorter time frames.
- Other new equipment, such as a new dish machine for Whitemarsh Elementary School, and bags, food utility carts, masks and thermometers for all buildings as needed.
"Amidst the challenges of the past year, school nutrition professionals on the frontlines have remained steadfast and unwavering in their efforts to ensure students' access to healthy meals," said School Nutrition Foundation Chair Julia Bauscher, SNS. "These grants support meal program operators with equipment upgrades that will be a great help in trying to get back on track and plan ahead for the 2021-22 school year."