Tastier and More Nutritious School Meals at Lawrence UFSD

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Starting September 2011, Lawrence UFSD partnered with Whitsons School Nutrition to improve the school dining service, and the Lawrence community has seen a positive change throughout the cafeteria services. On December 7th, the school district recognized Whitsons’ efforts to provide an enhanced school dining experience in an award ceremony.

Lawrence UFSD staff and students visit Whitsons' corporate office

We wanted to provide better choices to our children that were more consistent with the nutrition messages we were trying to convey. That’s when we decided to overhaul our dining services and provide healthier and higher quality foods.

Battling commercial forces glorifying unhealthy lifestyles is a constant struggle for parents and school administrators. With the rise of childhood obesity, schools are taking a more proactive approach to promoting a healthy lifestyle by increasing health classes, providing nutrition education and encouraging physical exercise. The Lawrence School District realized it was crucial to take an extra step to curb childhood obesity and partnered with Whitsons School Nutrition to offer more wholesome and delicious school meals at the district.

At the end of last school year, the Lawrence UFSD administration met with the parents to discuss the issues that concerned them. One of these subjects was school nutrition as parents and educators were alarmed by the rising numbers of overweight children. According to Gary Schall, Lawrence UFSD Superintendent, “We wanted to provide better choices to our children that were more consistent with the nutrition messages we were trying to convey. That’s when we decided to overhaul our dining services and provide healthier and higher quality foods.” The district connected to Whitsons School Nutrition through the RFP process and has been enjoying their services since September 2011.

Since then, the Lawrence dining services have improved noticeably in quality and taste. For instance, meals are prepared with healthier ingredients without sacrificing flavor. This improvement has been acknowledged by the Lawrence students and has led to an increase in lunch participation. Even though the high school has an open campus policy, Alex Thomas, a sophomore in Lawrence High School, has noticed that “more students are staying in and eating lunch in the cafeteria instead of the fast food places that exist near the school. You can tell the food is fresher and prepared carefully.” This change has also been observed during the breakfast services. Ms. Thomas said that “Nowadays we have long lines for breakfast. Everyone wants to have the delicious egg and cheese sandwiches and muffins.”

According to Saidy McKenzie, a senior in Lawrence High School, another important change in the district’s dining services is the attitude of the cafeteria workers. She said that not only were the food service workers friendlier with the students, but it was also very apparent how proud they were of the work they are doing, “You can tell they’re so happy to be working here. They are always smiling and making sure everything is clean and neat.”

On December 7th, Lawrence UFSD officials held a recognition ceremony where they presented certificates of appreciation to the Whitsons team at Lawrence for having improved the school nutrition services at the district. The award was presented to Michael Whitcomb, Whitsons Vice President and co-owner. Whitsons is a family-owned company with a business philosophy shaped by old fashioned family values.

About Whitsons
Whitsons School Nutrition provides a wide range of highly customized dining services to public and private schools, with a strong focus on nutritious, high quality menus made from fresh, wholesome ingredients. Whitsons has a long and proud history of excellence and growth since 1979 and currently ranks the 4th largest school nutrition company serving public schools. In addition to school nutrition, Whitsons’ scope of expertise and services extends to: prepared meals, residential and healthcare dining, corporate dining, emergency dining and vending services.

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Sonia Garrido
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