School lunch is Georgia Grown

Published 1:11 pm Saturday, May 4, 2019

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — If you ever have the opportunity to dine in one of the cafeterias of the Sumter County School District, take it, and you will be pleased, and quite possibly surprised.
On Wednesday, Georgia schools observed “Georgia Grown” and served up delicious meals using products grown here in Georgia. At Furlow Charter School’s Café Furlow, in School Food Service Manager Larry Jackson and his staff served up baked chicken, cornbread, cabbage, baked sweet potatoes and strawberries from places around the state like Tifton, Reynolds, among other towns in Georgia.
Visitors and students alike enjoyed the meal, during which the Times-Recorder talked with a few third-grade students.

Marley Tookes

Marley Tookes said “Mr. Larry’s” lunches are always good. She also asked a question: How do cows keep up with what’s going on? They read the moos-paper! That little nugget was on the back of the milk carton. Marley asked the ATR writer if she was going to eat her strawberries, so she shared with them Marley and

Aubrey Stoyell

Aubrey Stoyell, who said the lunches are “always good” and the chicken is her favorite.

Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen said he doesn’t eat lunch because he’s not hungry. “Mr. Larry” told the Times-Recorder he’s tried all sorts of foods to tempt Ben but he just doesn’t do school lunch.

Riley Moore

But Riley Moore does, and she says the school lunches are good and good for you.
Friday was School Lunch Hero Day, as designated by the School Nutrition Association (SNA). Jackson planned to take his staff — Lois Kelly, Carol Blakley, Tammy Williams, Jessica Hurley, and Christine Jenkins — out for dinner on Saturday evening, in recognition of their great work throughout the school year.

Clockwise from left are Andrew Doble and Nancy Gerlach, both of whom volunteer at Furlow Charter School, Steve and Jeannie Stanfield, and Sumter County Board of Education member Sylvia Roland.

According to the SNA, School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff, and communities to thank those who provide healthy meals to 30 million of America’s students each school day.

Americus firefighters Jonathan Rooks and Jason Hudson enjoy their lunch at Café Furlow.

School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools. School Lunch Hero Day provides the opportunity for the community to thank these hardworking heroes” said Martha Harvey, Sumter County Schools nutrition director. Federal nutrition standards ensure that school cafeterias always offer low-fat or fat-free milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. School meals also meet limits on calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats.

This student was just getting started on his Georgia Grown school lunch served at Furlow Charter School’s Cafe Furlow.

The SNA says the importance and nutritional value of school meals are well documented. For many students, school lunch is the most important and nutrient-rich meal of their day. For some, it’s their only meal of the day.