How it Works
When a school is approved through National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Yavapai Food Council creates nutritionally wholesome, delicious meals. We then prep food in our non-profit kitchen and deliver the meals the day of service, often serving today’s lunch and tomorrow’s breakfast.
We provide portioned, pre-packed meals containing all food groups required. We are constantly working to perfect our menus to be optimal “kid approved” menus. Here are just a few options we offered this summer:
Where it All Began
Bountiful Kitchen is Yavapai Food Council’s (YFC) new, innovative solution to child hunger. Because we are committed to doing our part in preventing childhood hunger, the leadership at YFC could not turn a blind eye to the fact that 24 out of 80 rural and/or charter schools in Yavapai County do not have commercial kitchens and are not providing breakfast, lunch or snacks for students. The free and reduced student qualification rate averages well over 50%, with multiple schools ranking between 90% and 98% of the students qualifying.
The pilot brown bag school meals program ran from October 2014 to May of 2015 at a rural school with 184 students, of which 74% (approx. 136 students) qualified for free or reduced meals. YFC assisted with the application process, administrative oversight, and compliance for NSLP and ADE, while a contracted, for-profit food service management from a local school district prepared meals and accepted responsibility for menus, nutritional analysis, food quality and USDA meal plan requirements. The program was well received by students, staff and parents from the start.
As the pilot continued into the second half of the school year students began dropping out of the meal program and there was less satisfaction with the meals. A survey implemented for parents, teachers, and students to better understand the cause for attrition. We learned that the students were 1) unhappy with the quality of the food, 2) they wanted more variety, and 3) was not being paired with the appropriate condiments. Because YFC was not the food service provider, we ultimately had little influence over improving the food to the student’s preferences, while staying with in the NSLP guidelines.
In the spring of 2015 the YFC Board of Directors approved developing a nonprofit prep kitchen to prep the brown bag school meals. The Bountiful Kitchen allows YFC to have complete control of the food quality, nutritional analysis, menu development and student satisfaction ensuring student participation is healthy. The nonprofit focus ensures that a minimum of 85% of the federal reimbursement funds go directly into the food cost so better quality, nutritious foods and more homemade options are available.
Our dedication to feeding hungry kids involves many in the community including volunteers, local business, and interns. If you are interested in participating in the Brown Bag School Meals Program, please let us know. Contact us
Verde Valley School Hunger Garden – local produce serving Bountiful Kitchen farm to school program.
Verde Valley School