Special Message from Whitsons
Dear Mount Vernon City School District Families:
Our Whitsons School Nutrition team in Mount Vernon is asking for your patience and support as we navigate new challenges*. As you may be aware, nationwide shortages and delays have affected availability of certain food items, leading to substitutions of menu items we’ve been able to offer regularly in the past. These supply issues are occurring throughout the country and are especially challenging for school systems, due to the quantity of meals we serve and the nutrition standards we follow. The entire food service industry is currently faced with unprecedented shortages and massive delays or cancellations of deliveries, and in addition to food service department labor shortages.
All of this means that we may need to make quick substitutions to our menu(s) based upon what we are able to acquire. We want to help limit the effects this has on our students, and we are doing our best to provide updates about menu changes when possible as soon as we identify an issue.
Please know that our number one priority continues to be providing healthy, nutritious, and appetizing meals for your children. We love seeing them every day and appreciate your support and patience as we continue to offer meals at no charge for all students, so please support us while we face yet another challenge. Student participation helps our program stay strong, and we look forward to serving them every day.
Whitsons District Manager
*For more information on the food supply chain issue, please view this video produced by the School Nutrition Association which includes helpful recommendations to help minimize disruptions.
Beginning in September of 2018 all students enrolled in Mount Vernon City schools are eligible to receive a healthy breakfast and lunch at school at no charge to them or their families. This service is funded through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), part of the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
“The most difficult thing for a student is trying to perform at your best on an empty stomach,” said Mount Vernon City School District Food Service Director Sharlaine Holness. “There are children that will not eat if they know they have a negative balance on their lunch accounts. So, if every child eats for free, the stigma or shame disappears.”
Each student in the District will be eligible to receive a hearty breakfast and lunch every day of the school year.
CEP allows schools and local educational agencies located in underserved communities to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. There are no applications associated with the program, which eliminates the hassle of paperwork submissions for both parents and school administration. In addition to access to free and nutritious meals, students can spend less time in cashier lines and more time fueling their bodies for academic success.
The times at which students can receive their free meals varies by school, but the District is making provisions to ensure every student gets to have breakfast without exception.Elementary students will receive an individually packaged meal, which meets the USDA’s Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act Requirements (including the SY 2014-15 updated requirements).Secondary students will also receive the USDA approved meal for no charge and can choose between a hot meal from the cafeteria line or a “Grab ‘n’ Go” meal from one of the Mount Vernon “Café on the Go” kiosks.
School meals are a healthy option, a great value and a huge convenience for busy families! We are committed to providing wholesome, high quality menus, prepared fresh daily from locally sourced ingredients whenever available and in season. Sodexo offers a variety of meal choices and Smart Snack options that meet NSLP (National School Lunch Program), HHFKA (Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act) and state nutrition guidelines. Whitsons will collaborate with parents, students and school nurses to accommodate the dietary requirements of students with food allergies and other special diets. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time.