Special Week Celebrates School Lunches

Feb. 1, 2017 ~ Grizzly Cinnamon Pears and Fruit Cockatiel were two of the featured menu items on lunch trays during Kansas School Lunch Week, Jan. 23-27, in the Olathe School District. Each year the creative Café 233 staff across the district choose a theme to grab students' attention and promote healthy lunch options. This year's theme was "Cloudy with a Chance of School Lunch," a fun twist on two popular children's movies.

"It's a spin on the 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' movies," Nutrition Assistant Trudi Gager said. "Most of the kids know these movies in which a child scientist creates a machine that turns water into food. The machine gets sent into the atmosphere and then it rains different foods throughout the movie. In the second movie, the food turns into animals called 'Foodimals.'"

The creative theme gave Café 233 staff a chance to do something fun in the school cafeterias and highlight different aspects of the school lunch, from nutrition to the variety of food to the employees themselves. Some dressed as characters from the movies, others designed elaborate bulletin boards or even a mock fishing pond where students could "fish" for food cutouts. Several of the schools even showed the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" movies during lunchtime.

"The purpose of Kansas School Lunch Week is to celebrate our school lunch program," Gager said. "We like to include the students in our celebration with coloring sheets, activities in the lunchroom, fun food and contests. The secondary students had the opportunity to enter the second annual Kansas School Lunch Week art contest.

"We wanted to do something that the kids were familiar with and would get excited about," Gager said about the "Cloudy with a Chance of School Lunch" theme this year.

Girl holds lunch tray During the week of Jan. 23-27, the lunch menu included a variety of uniquely named food items. One day “Piece of Cake,” a character from the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” made an appearance. The chocolate cake with bright pink frosting was a hit with elementary students.
Cafe 233 staff wearing special T-shirts Café 233 staff across the district worked on special decorations to promote the theme of school lunch week. These café employees at Havencroft Elementary School put their creativity into “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”-themed T-shirts, complete with yarn spaghetti and pom-pom meatballs.
Boys enjoy colorful lunch exhibit At Havencroft Elementary School, these boys took a minute to go fishing in the “pond” below a wall-sized decoration with characters from the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” They used little fishing poles to pick up various food items from the pond. “We hope the students and staff have a good time during our special event in the lunchroom,” nutrition assistant Trudi Gager said.
Cafe 233 staff dressed up

Westview Elementary’s café staff wore costumes ranging from fruit to inventor Flint Lockwood (in the white coats) who created the infamous water-to-food machine in the movies. “Our staff look forward to this special event,” nutrition assistant Trudi Gager said. “We have a contest and celebration for our staff who get involved in making this event a success at their schools.”

Submitted photos