by Lisa Tome
Although he can't read yet, kindergartner Logan Wood knows he's loved.
His lunch box serves as a reminder. Last week Wood unpacked his lunch which included a thermos of Spaghettio's, chips, squeeze containers of applesauce and yogurt, raisins, and flatware from home, and found a note.
It was actually a small pre-printed card with a fun fact asking "how many licks it takes to finish a single dip of ice cream." (50) On the back, the card was signed "Love, Mommy."
School cafeterias such as the one at Rising Sun Elementary, are a busy place. General assistant Katie Gwaltney spends two hours each day keeping up with requests of students who need their milk opened, need to be reminded to throw trash away, or who just want a little attention. About 40 percent of the students at the school receive free or reduced price meals.
Last Thursday's school lunch included a choice of five items from the menu. Those choices included baby carrots, baked beans, tomato soup, garden salad, potato wedges, chicken patty, grilled cheese, hot ham and cheese, and corn dog.
"School lunch is good. I used to pack and now I buy," said first grader Mason Wyatt.
Or the students, like Wood, can bring from home.
"We get a lot that's thrown out, sandwiches. We try to encourage them to eat it," said Gwaltney. There is also a share bucket, where students can place unwanted items that others may want.
"The packed lunches are very put together. The fifth grade girls are very meticulous and they pack their own. If they bring Lunchables (pre-packaged meals) the younger kids can't open them. And a lot of kids buy on pizza day. The line is so long," said Gwaltney. "You can tell the point in the year when the moms get tired of packing. You can also tell when a kid packed their own."
Fifth grader Natalie Kirk has a lunch cycle. Once a week she packs her own lunch which is exclusively fruits and vegetables.
"The other days I have sandwiches and chips. But I want to be healthier," said Kirk.
Nathan Simmers, also a fifth grader, likes a bargain. Simmers buys extra food in the school cafeteria and takes it home for snacks.