Serving Up More Food Choices, Less Empty Stomachs


Good news for some parents in Mitchell, more kids are eating and enjoying school lunch. It wasn’t always that way… and the positive change is thanks to one woman’s idea.
These days… when the bell rings for lunch at Mitchell Middle School more and more kids are filling up their trays…
As well as their stomachs.

“She wants to make the students happy and I think doing,” explained 7th grader at Mitchell Middle School Jordan Beukelman. “You know, giving us… getting the meals that we really want is kind of the way to get the kids excited about the meals.”

She is LeAnn Carmody, the Mitchell School District’s Food Service Director. It was about a year ago that she not only took on that position, but she also continued to noticed too many students weren’t eating their mid-day meals through the school’s Hot Lunch Program.

“If you are a student and mom doesn’t have time to make you lunch, or dad, and there’s one option to eat, and you don’t like it, well…,” explained LeAnn Carody, the Food Service Director for the Mitchell School District.  “You’re either going to not take it or you’re just going to pick at it… you’re going to go hungry.”

While working with other food services in surrounding schools districts, Carmody went to the superintendent’s office with an idea to offer more food choices and change the cafeteria’s look.

“She saw it as a way to address… we had some, our finances were declining in our Hot Lunch Program and that was concerning,” said Mitchell School District Superintendent Joseph Graves. “Our participation were declining so we needed to get both of those addressed.”

So while the students were on winter break, Fear the Ear Cafe got a new look; with new wall decorations, a tv at the front of the room that broadcasts school news and, of course, more food options for students.

“When I first walked in here, I was surprised,” said Carver Steffes, a 6th grader at Mitchell Middle School. He said, though, he thought something was up when he noticed that the old boards were removed before the students went on break.

Fellow middle school student Jordan Beukelman also said that it’s been a nice change since coming back from break, “Instead of having one, set in stone item, you have extra items you can pick and choose from. they’ve got hot meals and cold meals so it’s just kind of nice.”

Making lunch student’s “favorite subject” once again.

“Everybody wants that part of the day to be enjoyable for themselves,” said LeAnn Carmody, Food Service Director for the Mitchell School District.

The school district plans on redoing the Longfellow Elementary cafeteria as well… with the new name “The Lions Den.”
That renovation is scheduled to start in March.

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