September 13th is “National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day” and that makes it a great day to explain how the GRACE Hot Lunch Coordinator for the Lower Campus, Lisa Michaelsen, has been expanding the culinary palate of our youngest students with Taste of GRACE.
The inspiration for Taste of GRACE comes from Lisa’s 22-year-old memories of the Taste of Chicago event that spanned ten days in Grant Park. Lisa remembers it being a fun way to try expensive or unique restaurants. She still remembers tasting cherry stuffed quail from The Red Room and loving the concept of a small plate, bite, or taste. Inspired by her own excitement at Taste of Chicago, Lisa patterned Taste of GRACE to showcase foods to which young kids (and even some adults) would not normally be exposed.
Students, parents, and some faithful grandparent volunteers look forward to the once-a-semester event. Volunteers contribute and help serve the many different food items that are offered to the students. Students in TK-4th grades are allowed to try 4-5 “tastes” while 5th and 6th graders are not limited in the number of things they taste. Ask any student who has experienced Taste of GRACE and they will tell you that alligator is their favorite! This is the one dish they remember, ask for, and encourage new students to try. Brownies made from black beans (BB Brownies) are another big hit with the kids as are bright and colorful smoothies including ones made with kale. In past events, students have also tried traditional dishes from other cultures, sushi, salmon, exotic fruits, and more.
In addition to the obvious benefits of getting stereotypically picky eaters excited to try new foods, Taste of GRACE has a secondary benefit as well. As GRACE strives to equip students for life, Taste of GRACE teaches kids to be decisive. It may ALL look good, but they have to choose what to sample. Lisa emphasizes to the kids that they can’t make a wrong decision, but they have to develop an opinion and act on it. They must choose. They must decide.
As a corollary to Taste of GRACE, this year Lisa is serving up a monthly Around the World Lunch. On these lunch days, students can purchase a “taste plate” from the featured country. In two weeks, on September 26th, the first Around the World Lunch featuring foods from Sweden will be offered to 170 students who signed up for this special meal.
Welcome to the 2016/2017 school year at GRACE from Miss Lisa, your TK-6th Grade Hot Lunch Coordinator!
Ordering Hot Lunch
This year, ordering will open on the third Thursday and close the following Tuesday of each month for the next month’s hot lunch. Remember to click the submit button after you complete your order and then scroll to the bottom of the form and click on the payment button. If you’ve done it correctly, two things will happen – you will get a confirmation email and your student’s lunch calendar on RenWeb will be highlighted in blue. If you need help with ordering lunch or have other questions, please email me at email@example.com. Please note that I cannot change your order after the ordering window closes at 4:00pm.
This year, we are trying to incorporate more choices into our hot lunch calendar. As a result, the same vendors are not always the same days as they have been and they might not always be the same day of the week. Pay attention to the menu each day and note the days that your student has lunch on your home calendar. Please go over the menu with your student because sometimes they do not want what you have selected for them.
Ice Cream/Frozen Treat Day
We will have our first Ice Cream/Frozen Treat Day on Friday, September 2nd (we have options for all allergy students). Students with August and September birthdays will be honored in chapel and given a certificate for a free birthday ice cream. Students not celebrating a birthday may purchase a frozen treat for $1.00 after they’ve eaten their lunch. Ice Cream Day is usually the first Friday of every month, but there will be a sign in the carpool line to remind you.
PDQ meals feature their own farm-raised antibiotic-free chicken in meals made fresh to order. Their chicken is delicious and their salads are gluten free.
Some days feature a salad bar with nitrate-free ham and turkey.
We have added gluten free grilled nuggets to our Chick-fil-a days.
Pei Wei meals are MSG free.
Jersey Mikes uses whole wheat bread and their turkey and roast beef (roasted in house) are nitrate-free.
We will be offering Whole Foods at least once a month and their meats are nitrate-free as well.
We will cook at least one to two times a month because the kids love it when we do.
I also purchase fresh fruits or veggies as a side for our Monday-Thursday lunches every week.
Even if you don’t purchase hot lunch, your kids can always purchase antibiotic and hormone free 1% milk. Each glass is 50 cents and comes with free refills. If your child forgets lunch, sometimes we may have an extra meal; if they receive that, I will bill your account. If you do bring their lunch after drop-off, please leave it to the front desk before their scheduled lunch time. Please pack silverware and napkins for them if they’re bringing lunch from home.
Volunteers are Still Needed
We still need volunteers to serve in the kitchen. It is a great way to serve our school, see your kids during their school day, and a wonderful opportunity to get to know other parents and grandparents. Volunteers serve from 10:15am – 12:30pm. The biggest need is on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Please let me know if you’re willing to serve. There is also a need for weekly, bi-weekly, fill-in, and special event (pancake day) volunteers.
As always, it is a joy to serve your kids and get to see them and love on them each school day. Thank you for being a part of the GRACE family.
Welcome to our many new GRACE families and a friendly “hello” to our returning students and their families! We hope you’ve had a great summer of rest and relaxation! Our first hot lunch will be served on Thursday, August 18th . Online ordering will open on Thursday, August 4th and will close on Thursday, August 11th at 4pm. Both campuses will keep the same price as last year with TK-6 lunches offered at $4.50 and 7-12 lunches offered at $5.00. There may be an occasional day offered on each campus in which the price may be slightly higher.
In efforts to “go green” and keep costs down, 7- 1 2 students will need to bring their own water bottle into the lunch room. We will have a large ice water dispenser for refills. There is also a drinking fountain located in the lunchroom as well. We will no longer provide disposable and costly paper cups. Beverages for the lower campus will remain the same as last year with milk, lemonade, or water as a choice.
Hot lunch is ordered online thru www.renweb.com and then by clicking on to parents login. Please review complete instructions for ordering under www.gracechristian.net and click on the “school life” tab and then “hot lunch.” Nutritional information is posted there as well.
Our lunchroom program depends on volunteers and we encourage you to sign up at parent orientation or teacher meet and greet night. There are many spots open on the TK-6 campus and a few spots open at the 7-12 campus. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the TK-6 campus or email@example.com at the 7-12 campus if you have further questions.
We look for to serving our Lord through serving your children!