‘Grab-n-go’ option increases Blue Ridge breakfast service

Blue Ridge High School and Middle School students get breakfast from the “grab and go” line. The portable buffet table holds both hot and cold meal items, including breakfast sandwiches, juice and packaged foods. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Blue Ridge High School and Middle School students get breakfast from the “grab and go” line. The portable buffet table holds both hot and cold meal items, including breakfast sandwiches, juice and packaged foods. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

This school year, Blue Ridge changed from a two-tier busing system to a single bell schedule bringing all of the district’s students to school at the same start time.

With one campus cafeteria, the schedule change posed a challenge to the school’s food service – especially the breakfast program.

But Food Service Director Linda Cole-Koloski and her staff have met that challenge head on- implementing a “grab and go” line with a portable buffet table that the middle and high school students have to pass by on their way to morning classes.

A universal free breakfast program is in place in the Blue Ridge Elementary, providing the meal at no charge to any of the K-5 students.

But the number of students who purchase breakfast in middle and high school falls off, Cole-Koloski said but she’s looking to change that statistic.
“We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” Cole-Koloski said.

The morning bus drop off has students filing through the cafeteria. With the strategically placed “grab and go” service line, the food service director said she has already seen a 10 percent increase in breakfast service to middle and high schoolers.

In addition to service line changes, Cole-Koloski has also implemented new menu options, upping the fruit and vegetable offerings as federally mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Different variety of fruits, vegetables and proteins are served throughout the week, Cole-Koloski said. Managing the weekly menu is like putting together a puzzle, she said.

“School lunches are healthier than they used to be,” she said. “Even if it’s harder, it’s the right thing to do for the kids.”