■ By SJUSD / Contributed
On July 16, San Jacinto Unified School District announced that all students in the district will receive free breakfast and lunch beginning the first day of the 2018-2019 school year, and each school day thereafter for at least four years.
“We were successful with our application to the California Department of Education to be part of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program where all enrolled students can receive their school day meals at no cost,” shared Tammy White, SJUSD Nutrition Services Director. “The best part is that all students have the opportunity to experience our nutritious, healthy and delicious meals at school regardless of income,” White explained.
The CEP program is a key provision of The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which allows qualifying (low-income) districts and schools to serve all students free meals without the burden of collecting household meal applications, a labor intensive process that most districts experience at the beginning of each school year.
“With streamlined paperwork and administrative requirements, our food service professionals have more time to focus on preparing nutritious meals that kids will enjoy, and gives our kids more time to eat those meals since lines will move quicker without the exchanging of money,” noted Angela Phalen, Chef Coordinator at the SJUSD central kitchen.
San Jacinto Unified will now ask parents to fill out an Alternative Income Funding (AIF) form to ensure our schools receive the necessary resources to continue providing all students with the highest quality education available. Households will receive the form in the mail, which will also be available from the district’s website after July 23.
New menu items for the upcoming school year from the SJUSD central kitchen will include a new house-made pepperoni pizza pinwheel, garlic and cheese biscuits, and the now famous Sunshine Scones from a recipe developed by Chef Coordinator Phalen and taste-tested by students at the end of last year.
“We hold an annual Golden Fork Recipe contest with students, and we are adopting the winners’ recipes for our lunch menu,” announced Director White. “Steak & Rocket Pesto Sauce Sandwich and a Taco Salad are two of the winning recipes which are sure to be hits at all school cafeterias this year,” she declared.