Deb's Food Program Follow-up
February 8, 2017
Dear PIC Families,
Thank you to all who completed the Food Program Interest Survey. I wanted to follow up with the survey results, respond to the questions/comments that came up most often, and present our next steps.
We had 187 responses to the survey (fantastic!) -- 48% of you responded YES to opting into a potential food program, 20% responded NO, and 32% responded MAYBE and posed their questions.
While many questions and comments were posed, almost all fell into one of the categories below:
Cost - It's too high!
Many felt the proposed cost of the lunch program was too high. The good news is that with the number of families who will most likely opt in, we have significantly higher “buying power” and will be in a very good position to negotiate costs with a potential vendor. Any potential vendor will want our account.
Food Options - Looking for the healthiest option around
We were happy to see that serving healthy foods is clearly a very important aspect of opting into the food program. We are gathering information about potential vendors and will look carefully at the menu options offered.
While it is unlikely that any of the potential vendors serve all organic foods, we can look for vendors that do serve fresh fruits and vegetables. We do know that we can find vendors that have vegetarian and dairy-free options, but are not yet sure of what other dietary issues can be met. Stay tuned!
Serving Food - Feeling left out, avoiding the veggies, and the picky eater
Many responders asked if children who didn’t opt in would feel left out. Currently, we have children in nearly every classroom who have food allergies and are offered a separate option during snack time. Children adapt very quickly and the most important aspect will be using language that is not exclusionary in any way. Using language such as, “Some children bring in their lunch from home and other children eat the lunch provided at PIC,” aligns with the language we use when talking about any differences.
Some responders expressed concern that in eating family-style, their child would never choose the vegetable or any “non-preferred” food. Teachers will talk with the children about taking a bit of everything to put on their plate.
There were many responders who spoke of their “picky eater.” We agree that there are many of those children out there (it’s quite developmental). We have seen however that children become “less picky” when they see friends eating foods that they would not consider on their own. While we cannot guarantee that children will begin to request vegetables for dinner, we know that being with others who eat them increases the chance of them doing so.
It is also important to note that at PIC we serve very substantial morning and afternoon snacks that supplement lunch. Our daily snacks include a whole wheat grain, a dairy, and a fresh fruit serving.
Billing Options - Keeping it simple
While some responders would like the ability to opt in and out on a daily basis based upon weekly menu options, we know that keeping billing as simple as possible will be critical to moving in this direction. Thus, opting in or out could only happen on a monthly basis. Because of the necessity of pre-ordering, delivery and billing, this food program option needs to run differently than a school cafeteria.
We have much more investigating to do. Please stay tuned for additional information as we learn more, and feel free to email more questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for entrusting your children in our care.