PTA in charge of hot lunches - question


Our new school (as of this year) does not have a government sponsored lunch program. Instead, the PTA provides hot lunches two days a week for the kids whose parents sign up and pay for them. This semester they have pizza from Round Table one day, and some selections from Taco Bell on the other day. I volunteer to help give out the lunches on pizza day. I'm hoping to work my way up to being in charge of the program when my younger son gets a little bigger - that way I will have NO WORRIES. (wouldn't that be nice?!) Anyhow, I feel safe with the two choices that are being offered this semester, and Leah has been eating them with no problem. Now, it's been decided that Taco Bell is not popular enough with the kids (who are these kids?!?!) and they are looking for an alternative for that day. A questionaire went home with the kids asking them to pick which items they would prefer. Some of the choices were Chinese items: broccoli with beef; chow fun noodles; and Chinese Chicken salad. (Anyone getting hungry?!) If this were sponsored by the school I would talk with the principal. Since it's a parent volunteer thing I'm not sure how to handle it. What I did so far was to write at the bottom of my daughter's form: "The Chinese entrees would be problematic for the kids at (our school) who have severe nut allergies".

I'm crossing my fingers that the chinese entrees will not be the most popular, especially the Chinese chicken salad(!), but I'm not sure how big a stink to make about it, or whether I should make one at all.

The other moms that I volunteer with on pizza day seem sympathetic to Leah's allergies, but I haven't gotten the feeling that anyone thinks the whole school lunch program should need to adapt for her. That is, in fact, probably true, and maybe this is just a sadness that (Leah? and) I will have to experience that she cannot eat the hot lunch that day.

I know that many of you would not and do not allow your children to eat anything provided by the school, restaurants, or anyone but yourselves. My comfort zone is different, and so far it has worked out great for us. So, other than that issue: any thoughts? Thanks in advance. [img][/img] Miriam

On Nov 18, 2002

My son doesn't eat any hot lunch at school--only what I send. But if the food were coming from Taco Bell or another restaurant I consider safe, I would allow him to have it.

Good thing you're involved in the lunch program. I think since you (and your daughter) are already involved, it's perfectly acceptable for you to speak up loud and clear against the Chinese food. There are so many other options that would be safe. I know you can do it in a way that wouldn't be offensive--just by expressing your hope that your daughter can *continue* to participate, you could probably convince the others. I sure hope so.

Have you researched any of the other restaurant options they are considering? Maybe you could come up with one or two other options that would be better than the Chinese food.

Good luck.

On Nov 18, 2002

Our school has the same type of hot lunch option, with resturant food brought in every other week. They have pizza, Subway, ravoli and mosticolli (am I spelling that right?)from a local Italian place, a McD's burger or nuggerts, and a hot dog lunch. These hot lunch options are rotated. All of them are safe in my comfort zone, dd eats all but the Subway as she doesn't like the options (ham/cheese or turkey). The resturants are chosen at the beginning of the year and that would be the time our PSA would consider feedback on the vendors. The Chinese options don't sound like what kids would like and also sound harder to serve (Chinese chicken salad for hundreds?)since I assume you (like us) have no real lunchroom kitchen or serving space.

BTW, hot lunch coordinator is one of the least popular jobs at our school, I guess because it is not as creative / high profile as managing some of the other functions (like staff appreciation lunch, auction, Ladies Night Out etc....)it happens in the middle of the school day so no parents that work outside the home can easily help and serving the food can be messy. So (lol)it may not be as hard as you think to get involved in the process!

Good Luck