School Business Affairs July-August 2020

14 JULY/AUGUST 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS FORECASTING AND FUNDING For every uplifting experience, there are just as many that stop me in my tracks. For example, on several consecutive days at a second- ary school, I noticed one student in particular who entered the cafeteria at about the same time. The young man—who was well-dressed and generally appeared to be in good spirits—milled around for a bit (this is the part that caught my attention) before joining students at a table. Each day, his friends offered him various parts of their lunches, which he accepted. Curious about why he didn’t buy his own lunch, I spoke to him as he was leaving one day. After I explained who I was and why I was asking, the young man told me that things were tight at home. The fam- ily income had dramatically changed recently. And although his family qualified for reduced-price meals, with five children at home even that was a strain on the current budget. Consequently, each child was allot- ted money one day of the week to eat lunch at school. “Tomorrow is Friday and that is my day to get lunch,” the student explained. “I probably won’t though because my little brother is always really hungry, so I will probably just give him my money so he can eat. I can usually bum something off one of my friends.” This experience has driven me to constantly look for ways to ensure School Food Service Operations: Choosing the Right Options Participation in the Community Eligibility Provision program puts the focus on meeting student needs. By Michael J. Clark, SNS, BS, MPA M ealtime at school is an opportunity for students to relax, decompress, refuel, and prepare them- selves for the rest of the day. As director of school nutrition for Crane Elementary School District in Yuma, Arizona, I visit our schools to observe the nutrition staff and to verify that the meals the district pro- vides are “complete.”While there, I enjoy spending time in the cafeteria dining rooms. The kids are always intrigued by the unfamiliar face in their midst. When the students in our 6,000-student preK–8 district ask who I am, I tell them that I am actu- ally the Head Lunch Lady. I enjoy their reactions as they try to recon- cile the fact that a six-foot-tall 225- pound man just said he was a lady. Providing nutritious meals in the focus of any school food services program. COURTESY OF CRANE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT, YUMA, ARIZONA