Two private schools benefit from opting out of federal lunch program

Two Missouri schools have instead made agreements with local restaurants to provide meals.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Meals are a bit tastier this year at two local parochial schools that have opted out of federal funding for lunch.
Notre Dame Regional and Saxony Lutheran high schools have made agreements with local restaurants to provide meals. Both have seen an increase in the number of students and faculty served. They continue to provide lunch to lower-income students, but are covering the cost themselves.

Tony Buehrle, development director at Notre Dame, said the school began looking into adding more entrees and an open salad bar this year, plus adding some a la carte items. It also was decided to bring in some local vendors, such as My Daddy's Cheesecake, Papa John's, Tractors Classic American Grill in Jackson and Chick-fil-A, for "restaurant Wednesdays."

Students also may buy ready-made sandwiches, deep-dish pizzas, fruit, cheese, trail mix, V8 juice and fruit, among other items.

On Papa John's days, four types of pizza -- pepperoni, sausage, vegetable and cheese -- are offered, plus students may also get a salad and fruit with it, Buehrle said. Cost is $2.50 for regular days and $4 or $5 on restaurant days, depending on restaurant menu items.

Some breakfast items such as fruit, bagels, muffins, yogurt and granola bars also are offered, Buehrle said.
"It's fresh pizza," he said. "If you get it from the state or a manufacturer, it's in a box. This is fresh. They'll deliver multiple times during that lunch hour. We're quite pleased with what we've got going on so far."

Buehrle said Notre Dame has 565 students and 65 faculty and staff members. It can serve 600, but about half that number were taking advantage until the school opted out and the percentage jumped to 75 percent.

Joan Dunning, Notre Dame food service director, said the change should reduce her paperwork overall.



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