Student: School cafeteria ran out of food in final days

LANSING, MICH. - Kaitlyn Brown-Hatchett got four small pieces of beef teriyaki for lunch on Tuesday. Her friend got five.

There were no fruit or vegetables available for her in the main lunch line at Everett High School, she said, and the offerings at the other lines were scant.

In fact, she said, as the school year has drawn to a close, the cafeteria has been running out of lots of things.

“There’s been no fruit or veggies and, in the nacho or taco line, they ran out of chips and meat,” Brown-Hatchett said.

Teresa Szymanski, the district’s chief of operations, admits that the cafeteria ran out of some food items this week but said students had adequate nutritional options and enough food.

“We served over 220 nachos that day,” Szymanski said.

The district contracts out food service to SodexoMAGIC, a partnership between food and facility management firm Sodexoand Earvin “Magic” Johnson, an Everett graduate.

Jody Taratuta, the general manager of food services for SodexoMAGIC, deferred comment to Szymanski or district spokesman Bob Kolt. Other SodexoMAGIC officials didn’t respond to the State Journal’s request for comment.  

“We’ll do better next time,” Szymanski said, adding that the district and SodexoMAGIC have had a good working relationship since it took over food service in 2014.

Everett is one of 652 schools in Michigan where students receive breakfast and lunch at no cost through a Community Eligibility Provision offered by the USDA. The provision provides free meals for all students if a school serves a large population of students in poverty. Those schools get reimbursed by the federal government.

Schools must ensure students take at least a half-cup portion of fruits or vegetables plus two additional food groups in order to get reimbursements, according to Allison Tropf, a registered dietitian with experience working with school lunch providers.

Peter Spadafore, the secretary of the district’s Board of Education, said he would ensure someone looks into the issue. Spadafore said he’s made a point of eating lunch at each of the district’s high schools at different points throughout the school year.

“We want students to get a good number of calories with nutritional content,” Spadafore said. "I hope, if it’s not happening, that students feel comfortable going to teachers and staff to express those concerns.”

Board President Rachel Lewis agreed with Spadafore and said SodexoMAGIC is expected to fulfill federal and state nutritional requirements.

Friday is the last day of school within the district. 

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© Lansing State Journal


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