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

Menu Development
muse school produce

Kayla Webb, executive chef at Muse School, has transitioned the private K-12 day school in Calabasas, Calif., to an entirely vegan menu over a three-year period. Webb talks about her menuing, and how the school’s kitchen earned the title of “greenest restaurant in the world” from the Green Restaurant Association.

Q: How did you help parents get used to the idea of an all plant-based diet?

A: The first year, we didn’t announce it. We were just serving one plant-based meal a week, so it wasn’t that drastic. We do monthly Muse Talks where we invite different speakers to our school to...

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce dirt

Savor at McCormick Place developed the Green Thumb brand for menu items and products featuring its rooftop bounty; the latest is a pale ale made with the first crop of hops grown on the roof. Promoting that branding and the convention center’s green certification has brought in business from groups with a sustainability focus.

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

FSD Resources