Courtesy of San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum:
Dear San Benito High School Parents, Students and Community:
The San Benito High School Food Services Department, in conjunction with the SBHS Transportation Department, since the start of remote instruction in March has gotten creative with food delivery, utilizing the Baler Food Truck as a mobile meal service to provide nutritious food to as many families as possible.
Nearly 11,000 of the total 245,429 meals distributed to students over the past seven months have been handed out through the truck, which makes three stops around Hollister each weekday.
Food Service Supervisor Jim Lewis said the effort “is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left many of our city’s youth without access to daily nutritious breakfast and lunch meals. San Benito High School, in its commitment to our youth, made this service available so that those who rely on school meals for their nutritional needs are still able to get the sustenance they require to keep them healthy and focused for their distance learning.”
Food Truck Makes 3 Stops A Day
After loading up with meals prepared in the school cafeteria, the food truck goes out on weekdays to make three stops around Hollister:
John Z. Hernandez Memorial Park on Central Ave. from 10-10:30 a.m.
Mission Oaks Mobile Home Park at 1401 San Juan Rd. from 10:35-10:50 a.m.
Veterans Memorial Park, across from the skate park at 1221 Memorial Dr., from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
Lewis noted that he is pleased that members of the community have expressed appreciation for the convenience of having a meal bag delivered to the various locations around town “because it allows them access to a breakfast and lunch that they otherwise would not have access to due to lack of transportation.”
“We have received comments such as ‘We are so glad you guys are here, it makes it so much easier to get my kids their meals,’ ‘Thanks so much for all that you are doing for us,’ and ‘My child loves your food; thank you very much.’”
Meals Follow Federal Nutritional Guidelines
The meal bags, also offered during daily drive-through service in Baler Alley on the north side of campus, follow the necessary nutritional guidelines established by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), which directs the National School Meal Program. Each meal contains the mandated, age-appropriate components that constitute a standard breakfast and lunch meal.
Each breakfast consists of half a cup of fruit or juice, 2 ounces of a grain, and 8 fluid ounces of milk. Each lunch meal contains 2 ounces of a grain, 3 ounces of a protein, half a cup of a vegetable and half a cup of fruit.
“It is crucial that the meals maintain these guidelines to provide our youth the nutrition they need to stay healthy, especially during a time when we are all more susceptible to being struck by illness,” Lewis said. “Their bodies also get what they need to help them remain focused on their at home studies so they can strive to be their very best. It is our hope that the meals are tasty enough so that students want to eat and convenient enough where they are finding enough time to eat without feeling the pressure of time constraint when between online classes.”
Food Truck Has Delivered Nearly 11,000 Meals
Since the beginning of the move to remote instruction as a result of the pandemic, the Baler food truck has served approximately 10,500 meals, averaging 175 meals daily and 875 each week.
The truck follows a varied monthly menu that adheres to the National School Lunch Program nutritional guidelines. Items include cereal, bagels with cream cheese, french toast sticks, Pop Tarts, crumb cake, sub sandwiches, taco sticks, pizza, corn dogs, burritos and other items that have proven themselves popular with students while on campus.
Student Input on Nutritional Options
The Food Services Department also works closely with San Benito High School’s Student Congress through monthly meetings in which students bring questions and concerns regarding cafeteria services and offerings to help the team provide the best culinary and service experience possible for students.
“Food Services strives to be the best that it can for our kids and we always welcome feedback, both positive and negative, so that we can accomplish our mission,” Lewis said.
He noted that the SBHS Transportation Department “has also gone above and beyond to bring this service to our community. They have also helped us provide meals to Tres Pinos School, which receives approximately 65 breakfast and lunch meals daily.”
On-Campus and Remote Food Distribution Options
San Benito High School is committed to providing both on-campus and remote location meals during the ongoing pandemic.
“We understand the connection between the availability of a healthy meal and classroom success,” Lewis said. “When we fuel the body, we spark the mind and from there, all things are possible. It is our mission to give our students the tools they need to succeed so we can have a better world tomorrow. You can do anything when you are Baler Strong!”
The teamwork and effort to support our greater school community continues to be exceptional. On behalf of the entire San Benito High School community, we could not be more proud of the Food Service and Transportation team members who each and every day provide opportunities for students and families to receive nutritious meals. Because of you, it is always a great day to be a Baler!
San Benito High School Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum