“We’re trying to get them in, around the room, and they’re here to vote,” said Governor Mifflin School District Food Service Director Jenelle Himmelreich. “They’re here to vote on foods for next school year. They’re here to say ‘hey, I really like this – I think you should menu this.’”
More than 400 Governor Mifflin students and 22 food vendors took part in the Food Service Department’s Annual Food Show on Wednesday, March 8, in the Governor Mifflin Intermediate school cafeteria.
The event invited students to sample and rate food items that could possibly make their way onto next year’s school lunch menu. The food vendors presented a wide range of main courses, side dishes, snacks, and beverages.
Himmelreich will use the student input when it comes time to make choices for next year’s school lunch menus. She said all of the items represented are compliant with the school lunch program and USDA regulations.
She explained how a majority of these vendors are commodity companies. The USDA allots her a certain amount of money, and based on the feedback she receives from the students, she can divert money to go towards a certain company for them to provide her with a particular food item. Through this process, she is able to get items at reduced prices.
“I really do try to pull the best products out there,” said Himmelreich. “I want to give the children good food – that’s my goal, to do that. I’m using children as input for next school year.”
The Food Service Department has been hosting the Food Show for the past 10 years.
“It goes over very, very well. It gives me a lot of good ideas. The things I think the children might not like, they’re loving. That’s really helpful for me.” She explained how she attends food shows and picks out things she thinks the kids will like, but that’s not always the case.
Fourth through 12th grade students took part in the judging and nearly every school throughout Governor Mifflin School District was represented.
The Intermediate School selected two students from each class and the elementary schools selected the fourth grade classes to attend, with exception to Brecknock Elementary that could not make it due to travel and timing issues.
From the high school and middle school – the Family Consumer Science students came out. “They make it part of their curriculum to participate in here. They come very year. It makes it really nice to get the high school’s opinion on things.”
Special needs students were also represented.
“We’re really are trying to coordinate and get a nice variety of a group here.” The students provide feedback by voting in a token. “They can vote for as many items as they want — but only one vote per item.”