Texas district selects Food Bank as meals vendor

In addition to offering prepackaged meals, the Food Bank also provides nutrition education services to students and families.

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

The foodservice department at KIPP San Antonio schools has a new meals provider this year: the San Antonio Food Bank.

The Food Bank provides meals of donated and surplus foods to 240,000 families and individuals in the San Antonio area. This is the first time it has provided meals to schools, though not the first time it has fed students.

Julia Manoli, operations manager for this four-school college preparatory public district in Texas, was looking for a new meal provider that was closer to home. “Our previous vendor was very far away,”Manoli says. “The food had to go many miles. The Food Bank is located very close to us, so it’s much more of a community-type delivery.”

The Food Bank provides the district with refrigerated, prepackaged breakfasts and lunches that meet the USDA’s National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. It also provides milk and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. The Food Bank makes daily deliveries to each of the four schools, dropping off that day’s lunch and the following day’s breakfast. Foodservice employees reheat the meals to serve to the students.

“We found that the San Antonio Food Bank, because they are already so much in the community and already feed lots of people, already has the facilities [to provide the meals for us],” Manoli says. “This is something they also wanted, to start doing school meals. They are already doing some after-school meals and summer feeding. This is the first time they’ve ever done regular NSLP meals.”

The Food Bank designed a preliminary menu, which was based largely off USDA-developed menus. Manoli’s team worked to tweak the menus to fit the district’s population. Manoli, who believes this partnership is the first between a food bank and school district, says the agreement works because the San Antonio Food Bank was also heavily involved in the district.

Through grant money, the Food Bank was already providing food-based programs for the district’s students and families to eat at home. One such initiative is a monthly distribution of produce, which is available for free to the families. Another is a healthy cooking class for middle school students, where participants learn some basic culinary skills and get to try out some new foods. Because the Food Bank is located in the heart of the district’s community, Manoli hopes students will be able to take field trips to the location to see their meals being prepared and to tour the Food Bank’s garden.

Manoli’s meal costs have decreased between 15% and 20% since starting the partnership with the Food Bank. 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

FSD Resources