Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

Fresh Wednesday Success

Posted on: October 20, 2010

Fresh Wednesday at Leeds Elementary

I was thrilled to join my 3rd grade friends at Leeds Elementary School for our first Fresh Wednesday.  October 20th was the kick off for a district-wide effort beginning in the elementary schools to provide freshly prepared healthy foods.  Parents and staff were encouraged to join the children for lunch, increasing both revenue for food services and parental involvement in healthy eating.

Today’s menu included baked chicken, squash, carrot sticks with dill dip, whole wheat bread and a fresh apple with milk.  After greeting our food service staff, I made my way over to the lunch tables.  I was privileged to eat lunch with Christopher, Sophia, Mira and her mom, Brynn, Erin and Caroline.  Two members of the Central Office staff joined me for lunch.  School Choice Coordinator, Shelly DeMarinis and Executive Secretary, Nicole Markel were excited to get out of the office and meet the children.

Executive Secretary, Nicole Markel and Leeds students

The lunch was delicious.  I know that this was a new experience for many of the children and trying new things can be daunting.  Christopher and I tried the carrots and dip together and he decided that he “actually did like it”.  I thought that it was better than chocolate.  🙂

Our administrators and volunteers put in many hours to make this event possible.  A big thank you goes out to our Food Services Director, Carol DiMauro, Food Services staff and cooks, our Fresh Wednesdays volunteers, School Committee members and parents to make this such a success.

School Choice Coordinator, Shelly DeMarinis with Leeds student

The Director of the Northampton Health Department, Ben Wood was on hand to assist with collecting parent surveys regarding three healthy food choices and which the parent would prefer to try or serve.  The choices were Spanish beans and rice, mac and cheese with fresh peas and quesadillas with fresh vegetables.  I chose the Spanish beans and rice.  Imagine that!

School Committee member, Downy Meyer was present to enjoy the healthy samplings and dine with his son.  My administrators communicated to me that the turn out at Jackson St., Bridge St. and Ryan Rd. schools was amazing.  Ryan Rd. had 23 parents representing all grades and the feedback was phenomenal.  Parents were appreciative and loved eating with their children.  They enjoyed the atmosphere in the lunchroom and being a part of the cafeteria community for a day.

Stay tuned for the November Fresh Wednesday date to be announced in school newsletters.  Did you attend one of the schools today?  Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

2 Responses to "Fresh Wednesday Success"

It was a great experience! Our new Leeds friends were welcoming when we asked to join their table. It seemed that the chicken was the favorite food item although all of the other items were tried if not devoured. One of the students that we sat with asked when this was happening again and was excited to hear that it would be in November. Great job to all involved.
Nicole Markel
Executive Secretary to the Superintendent

This is so great to see moving forward. Thanks to Carol, the lunch staff, Isabelina, the School Board, and the whole team who helped pull this together and supported it!

Starting out once a month, but maybe we can get it to once a week before the year is out?

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