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Elementary Schools Host Bring a Guest to Lunch Day

The first Child Nutrition event of the school year, Bring a Guest to Lunch Day, has become a cherished tradition. The 11 CHCCS elementary schools all participate, with some schools hosting more than 75 parents, grandparents and other adults on the designated day. Last Thursday, September 27, with a menu of teriyaki noodle bowl, garden salad, stir fry vegetables and more, school cafes welcomed the guests to share a meal with children and catch up on “classroom news.”

As they waited outside the Scroggs cafeteria entrance for their children’s classes to arrive, several mothers talked about the unique pleasure of joining in the lively conversations and laughter during lunch. “It’s such a treat to see my child with her friends, seeing them all interact,” said one mother. “The kids are all so pleasant with each other and the guests!”

Lynne Privette, registered dietitian with Child Nutrition, said, “We want to be much more than just the ‘school lunch line.’ Food is tied to so many celebrations and events, and it can bring great conversation.” She noted that Bring a Guest to Lunch is a wonderful way to highlight the power of bringing people together over food. “Chartwells' Eat.Learn.Live philosophy encourages nourishment of the whole child. Our goal is to enrich the lives of children and families in our welcoming cafe environment."

Several parents expressed their pleasure at having the opportunity to be with their children’s classmates in such a relaxed setting, talking freely with the guests and each other. “It’s really different from the way it is when you come to a special classroom or school event,” said one parent.

Although there is extra work involved for the staff at each cafeteria, Sharon McCauley, cafe associate at Scroggs, said that she really enjoys it. “The parents take their time to say ‘Great job’ to us, and almost all of them make sure they tell us ‘Thank you.’” Privette said that most people don’t realize how much effort goes into the scratch cooking of fresh meals for our students. But for parents who come to lunch, they get a peek behind the scenes.

S. Taylor, mom at Scroggs Shanda Taylor’s children are in fifth and second grade at Scroggs, so she came for a double visit with her daughter and son, as well as her niece. Children squeezed in beside her and shared their stories from the week. “It’s great to hear them talk about their lives,” Taylor said. “They don’t hold back!”

A grandparent at Northside, Paula Gee Davis, took the time to write an email of appreciation to the cafeteria manager, Christopher Cox. “Thank you all for the wonderful work you do. Remember: It is hard to learn if you are hungry.  You are working hand in hand with the teachers and ALL Northside staff to make our children capable of everything they are meant to be. The best lunch ever for $3.60!”