Region 8 school concerned with feeding students enough during lunch

Region 8 school concerned with feeding students enough during lunch

HOLCOMB, MO - Holcomb R-III school board expressed concern about students getting enough to eat.

During a board meeting, one member said he is worried the students are not getting enough to eat under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids federal act.

The act was put into place in 2010 and funds child nutrition programs and free lunch programs for schools.

It also contains new nutrition guidelines for schools.

According to the Holcomb Superintendent Ashley McMillian, these guidelines are what tie the school's food service director's hands.

The director cannot add anything to the lunch trays because she has to keep the calorie count within the federal guidelines.

According to McMillian elementary students are allowed 550-650 calories, middle school students are allowed 650-750 calories and high school students are not allowed anymore than 850 calories.

At the school board meeting, one option that was discussed is an a la carte menu.

McMillian said this is possible for Holcomb, but there are still some concerns. The a la carte menu still has calorie regulations.

An extra item, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, must stay under 350 calories and a side item must stay below 250 calories.

McMillian also worries this option would require more staff for the school.

Board members also asked about foregoing the federally funded lunches all together, meaning they would not have to follow the calorie guidelines.

McMillian said other private schools have done this, but it would not be feasible for Holcomb schools.

"A school our size it is not, it is not financially responsible for us to do that," McMillian said.

The major concern for everyone though, is to make sure the kids are well fed and able to learn.

"It helps them learn, I mean scientifically proven that if a kid is well fed then they will be more attentive, they will be better in the classroom," McMillian said.

For now the lunches will stay the same, but it is an ongoing issue that the board, superintendent and food service director will continue to discuss.

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