Liberty County’s 14 public schools are celebrating the benefits of eating healthy lunches through Friday. National School Lunch Week officially began Monday. The Liberty County School System was closed Monday for Columbus Day and closed Tuesday for a teachers’ furlough day.
More than 32 million children eat school lunch daily across the country, according to LCSS officials. The week’s theme, “School Lunch Across the USA,” will include events and activities that promote the benefits of healthy school lunches. To help celebrate this week, Liberty County schools will welcome guest servers to cafeterias.
LCSS school nutrition director Dr. Chris Reddick said community leaders and first responders have been recruited to man cafeteria serving lines and provide students with lunch this week.
“We have been inviting guest servers into our cafeterias for the past eight years,” Reddick said. “There is no better way to show our school nutrition staff that they are appreciated than to work alongside them. And the students and staff at the schools really enjoy it. School principals and administrators have also been seen donning aprons and hair nets. Hungry children cannot learn, and the real purpose of this week is to highlight the important role that school meals play in the education of our students.”
The federally-funded National School Lunch Program has been serving the nation’s children for more than 60 years, school officials said. The program requires school meals to meet federal nutrition standards by ensuring students are offered fruits and vegetables, whole-grain-rich foods and low-fat or fat-free milk, according to Reddick. School lunches today also limit calories based on the age of the children being served and have reduced amounts of saturated fats and salt.
Liberty County Schools serve more than 1.5 million lunches, 1.1 million breakfasts, 20,000 after-school snacks and 25,000 summer-school meals annually, according to school officials.
The Liberty County Board of Education honored Liberty County School Nutrition Program managers and staff by presenting certificates of honor and Georgia Department of Education High Participation Awards to many of them Oct. 8. Recipients of the Georgia Department of Education 2011-12 High Participation and National School Lunch Week Recognition included Virginia Wells-Ring of Bradwell Institute, Paula Butler of Button Gwinnett Elementary, Trudy Ballou of Frank Long Elementary, Laura Lewis of Jordye Bacon Elementary Anita Gonzalez of Joseph Martin Elementary, Laura Lewis of Lewis Frasier Middle School, JoAnn Seward of Liberty County High School, Francis Kennedy of Liberty Elementary, Margarita Vazquez of Lyman Hall Elementary, Renee Hubbard of the Pre-K Center, Roy Hall of Midway Middle School, Gail King of Snelson-Golden Middle School, Demetria Martin of Taylors Creek Elementary and Marie Lehigh of Waldo Pafford Elementary School.
School officials also recognized the school nutrition program’s industry partner, Georgia Power, and its media partner, the Coastal Courier, last week during a regular school board meeting.