School buses deliver meals to students
With no cafeteria to serve a healthy breakfast and lunch to students, the Nome Public Schools are delivering meals to the kids. Three school buses travel planned routes every morning and meal packets, both breakfast and lunch, are handed out the back door of the bus to the youngsters.
“We’re making a little over 500 meals a day,” said Terri Ami, Chef Manager of Nome Public Schools. “That includes breakfast and lunch. So we’re feeding about 250 kids.”
Last week, a school representative asked the Alaska Department of Education to allow Nome Public Schools to provide the two meals to all children up to age 18. Previously the rule stated up to age 12. The state approved the request and beginning April 6 older students were also provided with meals. At this time the school doesn’t have a breakdown on how many elementary students and how many high school students are getting the meals.
Terri Ami is an employee of NANA Management Services, the school district’s provider of food services. The company is a subsidiary of Kotzebue-based NANA Regional Corporation.
What sort of chow are the kids getting? What’s in the packet they get from the school bus is the same as what they’d be getting in the cafeteria if they were in school. “We do follow the National School Lunch Program,” said Chef Ami. “We have a menu that’s out daily. We follow the NSLP, National School Lunch Program. The food is reheated and there are instructions for heating it up.”
The instructions along with the menu is available on Facebook. A quick look shows what’s cooking on April 9 a breakfast burrito and “Chef’s Choice” for lunch.
Volunteers who are qualified to work in a school kitchen help with the preparation. “They are doing a great job,” said Ami. “We start at 7:30 in the morning and are done around 3:30 in the afternoon.” Ami says they are constantly working on adjusting to the safety standards as mandated by state authorities.
Delivery of food supplies has not been a problem because NANA ordered big at the beginning of the epidemic. “As soon as my boss and I heard about coronavirus we started ordering in bulk,” said Ami. “I pre-ordered everything in bulk.”