Since the start of the pandemic Alachua County Public Schools has efficiently offered meals to around 30,000 students and the community from up to 81 feeding sites.
For 16 years, Maria Eunice has been Director of Food Nutrition for Alachua County Public Schools in Gainesville, FL. Her experience was put to the test this year, having to navigate feeding students during a shutdown and a hybrid-serving model at schools in her district.
However, thanks to a dedicated team of school nutrition professionals and some fresh thinking, Alachua County Public Schools continues to achieve high turnout for their nutrition program.
“Take advantage of every program that the state and USDA is offering. When we first started, we were only serving breakfast and lunch, and then through the CCFP program we started serving breakfast, lunch, supper and snack in a bag to the community and students learning remotely.
Our website named ‘Your Choice Fresh’ helps parents and students stay connected. This is where we post menu updates, recipes, cooking instructions, information about our farm to school program and more.
We also used QR codes which are applied to the take-home bags. Each code brings students and their families to our curbside menu along with cooking instructions. This was one unique way we communicated with families. Our curbside staff showed each family how to use their phone to access the QR code. We have continued to use QR codes on many of our other curbside communication fliers.
What Does the Future Look Like?
“We’ll always be more conscious of touchpoints. For instance, at water dispensers we’ll keep using cups so students can get their own water. Same with condiments. Less touching – more innovation.”
Follow along with Maria Eunice and Alachua County Public Schools and their “Your Choice Fresh” portal for connecting families with menus and recipes!
· Website: yourchoicefresh.com
· Twitter: @yourchoicefresh
· Instagram: @yourchoicefresh
· Facebook: @AlachuaCountySchoolMeals