STORM LAKE, Iowa – Some kids are going hungry, but it’s not because of a lack of food, nor because they don’t want to eat what’s being served.
Leaders at Iowa’s Storm Lake Elementary School find themselves in a “frustrating” dilemma.
The updated National School Lunch Program rules strictly regulate the amount of calories, sodium and sugar children can consume.
One way to ensure that is to ban seconds.
The Pilot Tribune reports: “The rules for school lunches say ‘no seconds,’ and some students remain hungry while pans of hash browns and scalloped potatoes with ham are left to be thrown away.”
“In talking to some of my friends who are principals around the country, some schools are starting to opt out of the hot lunch program,” because of the regulations, Principal Juli Kwikkel tells the paper.
“That doesn’t fill them up,” Kwikkel says of the healthier offerings of fruits and vegetables.
“They don’t get much protein. And you’ll be told that it’s because they are following the federal regulations.”
A one-size-fits-all lunch isn’t always doing the job, the principal says.
“It just depends on the child, the meal and the day of the week. We have some kids who will throw their food away, and others who lick the plate clean and are still quite hungry.”
A Montana cafeteria employee spilled the beans to EAGnews and the details underscore what’s happening in Storm Lake.
“It’s completely flip-flopped in terms of portion size,” our source said of the news regulations.
“I’m appalled at the serving sizes we’re required to give high school students,” she added.
“We’re told we cannot serve seconds, that we cannot save leftover food for the next day. We must throw it away,” the source said. “What a waste for hungry kids who aren’t getting enough to eat to begin with.”
While state and federal bureaucrats have always required food service workers keep extensive records of what’s being served, the overall amount of paperwork has exploded with the new Obama administration requirements, EAGnews reported.
“We have to keep an enormous amount of paperwork, about serving sizes, food temperatures, labels, on and on,” our source says. “The new forms are more complex, ask for more information that’s just being duplicated on other forms. (Food service workers) are all collecting the same data for reports that sit in a file drawer and never get looked at.”
And while all that goes on, starving kids are going hungry in Storm Lake.