Category Archives: Customer Satisfaction

Opting out of school lunch program appeals as a palatable option

| Saturday, March 5, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Students at Penn-Trafford High School aren’t buying that lunches prepared under federal guidelines that restrict calories, sodium and portions are their best option.

So they literally are not buying them.

“I would say, on average, we’ve lost about $20,000 a year each of the last five years,” Penn-Trafford business manager Brett Lago said of lunch sales since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was enacted. “We are not in the food service industry to make money, but we don’t want to lose it.”

Penn-Trafford’s lagging lunch sales are part of a state and national trend since menu restrictions were tightened, federal statistics show. School lunch participation nationally dropped from 31.6 million students in 2012 to 30.4 million in 2014, according to the federal Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania statistics show school lunch participation dropped by 86,950 students in the same two years, from 1,127,444 in 2012 to 1,040,494 in 2014.

As a solution to slumping sales, Penn-Trafford officials may opt its high school out of the National School Lunch Program, which limits meal choices, allowing them to put favorites like Pizza Hut pizza back on the menu.

“We’ve had some issues concerning regulations from the NSLP and how they are affecting menu selection and preparation,” Lago said. “I think (the guidelines) are very counterproductive to what they are trying to achieve.”

Lago and other critics of the federal program say it can be wasteful — requiring students to take a fruit or vegetable they don’t want and won’t eat, for instance. Limits on menu choices and reduced portions — especially for high school students used to buying unrestricted lunches — also mean fewer sales.

“I think this may be a trend, going forward: Districts are going to want to step back from the program,” Lago said.

National and state numbers show the trend is in its infancy. About 100,000 U.S. schools could participate in the program, and 524, or half of 1 percent, opted out in 2013-14, according to the most recent USDA figures.

In Pennsylvania, 34 of 858 districts pulled at least one school out of the program in 2015-16, according to USDA spokesman Chris Kelly.

A limiting factor in opting out is that districts lose federal meal subsidies when they do. Federal reimbursement rates this year are $3.07 per meal for students who are income-eligible for free lunches; $2.67 for those who qualify for a reduced price; and 29 cents for all others sold.

For Penn-Trafford — about 200 of the high school’s 1,350 students qualify for free or reduced lunches — that means a loss of about $100,000 annually in federal subsidies.

Lago said he is “cautiously optimistic” that offering a new menu at a slightly higher cost, plus increasing a la carte sales through a broader selection of foods, could compensate for the federal shortfall.

Allegheny County’s South Fayette High School used that formula to success after pulling the plug on the National School Lunch Program in the 2014-15 school year, though it had to make up only $20,000 yearly in federal subsidies. Food service director Tricia Woods said 95 percent of students now buy their lunches from the school.

“The kids love it. The percentage is high for participation,” Wood said.

Wood said much of the menu is still rooted in federal nutritional guidelines, especially those set before further restrictions called Smart Snacks in Schools were added in 2014.

“Being off the program doesn’t mean you are just going wild,” she said.

The school’s basic lunch menu price is $2.30; fruits and vegetables are provided, not mandated, Wood said.

“The biggest factors were that we have a huge amount of a la carte sales and low free and reduced lunch sales,” said finance director Brian Tony. “We have a positive food budget balance. I’m not arguing with the results.”

Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County was among a handful of schools in Eastern Pennsylvania that dropped out of the federal program in 2013. Food service directors there all said student participation lagged as more restrictions were added in each year after the Hunger-Free Act was passed.

“We were comfortable with the guidelines until 2013,” said Manheim food services director Gavin Scalyer.

But with the district’s free- and reduced-price-eligible student population growing to 28 percent, Scalyer said, even offering a lucrative and popular a la carte menu may not be enough to cover lost federal subsidies, so Manheim is considering whether to reenter the program.

“Every school district wants to ensure that students from low-income families have access to free meals at school, so dropping out of the federal program means taking on the cost of providing those free meals,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, School Nutrition Association spokeswoman.

At private schools with few or no free-reduced lunch students — such as Sewickley Academy in Edgeworth — the decision not to participate in the federal program can be easier.

But public schools would have difficulty offering a menu of Cajun chicken pasta and beef stroganoff at a price of $5.95, as is offered at Sewickley. Metz Culinary Management, the food service provider for Sewickley, also serves Franklin Regional School District in Murrysville and Riverview School District in Oakmont, Allegheny County. Prices for lunches at those schools are $2.55 and $2.50, respectively.

“We have not been approached by any of our public school partners to move off the National School Lunch Program,” said Metz’s Jim Dickson, senior vice president of education. “However, if a public school wanted to move off the NSLP, we can still provide nutritional and wholesome meals without the federal funds and maintaining a budget.”

At Penn-Trafford, food service provider Aramark is expected to present options and costs outside the federally regulated program to the school board this month. Lago said the board likely will decide by April whether to opt out of the federal program in the fall.

“The board will decide if it makes sense to try it. We would still offer healthy lunches, but we wouldn’t be hamstrung,” Lago said.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or

Grand Tasting Area In My Community > Diabetes EXPOs > Minneapolis EXPO

Grand Tasting Area

Diabetes Education and Novo - 195x77

The Grand Tasting Area is a multi-layered world class sampling of appealing diabetes-friendly foods created and served by Novo Nordisk Diabetes Education Program Celebrity Chefs: Chef Tiffany Derry, Chef Rory Schepisi, Chef Doreen Colondres, and Chef Dana Herbert. Each chef will be paired with a Novo Nordisk Diabetes Educator delivering educational focused on healthy eating and meal planning. Healthy eating does not have to be boring but vibrant, full of life and flavor! Groups will be admitted into the Grand Tasting Area every 15 minutes from 11:00am – 1:30pm.

Meet the Chefs

Chef Tiffany Derry

Chef Tiffany

With humble beginnings in hospitality, Tiffany Derry has fired up the culinary scene from Dallas, Texas, where she built her TD Concepts brand and company from the ground up. Tiffany found a love of cooking at an early age and later graduated from The Art Institute of Houston, Texas. She went on to become a national spokesperson for the school and a sought-after sous chef at several regionally acclaimed restaurants. Tiffany’s natural ability in the kitchen and her colorful personality made her an obvious choice for Bravo’s “Top Chef,” where she was voted fan favorite in Season 7. This recognition earned her a spot as a contestant on “Top Chef All-Stars,” where she made it to the final-four round. With a personal family connection to diabetes, Tiffany has also made it her mission to educate people about healthy lifestyles and portion control. She has worked tirelessly to revamp the Dallas School Districts lunch program with more nutritious options. In blending nutrition with flavor, Tiffany stands by one rule in her kitchen, “make it taste good or forget it!”

Chef Rory Schepisi

Chef Rory

A New Jersey native with a big city attitude, Rory grew up surrounded by family in the restaurant business. At just 16, she decided to make cooking her career and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. After making a splash with her first restaurant at age 20, Rory consulted for establishments nationwide, gaining recognition in the process. While embracing the bicoastal lifestyle, Rory was offered the unique opportunity to join the reality TV program “Popularity Contest” on Country Music Television, which transplanted her to a small town in America’s heartland. Her experience on the show inspired her to permanently relocate to Vega, Texas, and start her successful restaurant, Boot Hill Saloon & Grill, which has since become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Her accolades include reaching the final round on “The Next Food Network Star,” hosting her weekly cooking segment on NBC’s Texas affiliate and appearing on The Today Show as a featured chef. A perfect blend of Southern charm mixed with Yankee sass, Rory adds a healthy twist to her down-home style of cooking. Grab a fork – Rory is in the kitchen!

Chef Doreen Colondres

Chef Doreen

Born into a family of cooks, Doreen Colondres’ family kitchen was the epicenter of her childhood. She developed a passion for local, fresh food and merging classic flavors with new ingredients. When life took her to Miami, Doreen found she was never far from the kitchen, cooking for friends and entertaining. In fact, Doreen wanted to convince the world that “The Kitchen Doesn’t Bite” and launched her website of the same name. A leading figure in today’s “Cocina Latina” movement and an expert in a range of Hispanic cooking, Doreen is determined to revolutionize the way the world approaches food, cooking, and eating habits. As a fresh food advocate with a passion to educate, Doreen’s easy approach and vibrant personality have helped her become a “people’s chef.” When Doreen isn’t experimenting in the kitchen, she’s either traveling abroad consulting for international companies, or is on-air hosting cooking shows on Fox’s Utilisima Network. Her mission is to show others that Hispanic food is flavorful and diverse, and that cooking is relaxing, healthy, and most importantly fun!

Chef Dana Herbert

Chef Dana

Chef Dana Herbert was introduced to cooking and pastry making while studying for a culinary degree at Johnson and Wales University. He operates an award-winning custom bakery “Desserts by Dana” in his home-state of Delaware, where he dishes up sweet and savory treats. Affectionately called “Delaware’s King of Cakes” by local fans, Dana was challenged to join TLC’s “Cake Boss: Next Great Baker” flagship series in 2010-2011. Dana took the show by storm, bringing flavor and color to life in his cakes on television, and ultimately won the show. His big win caught the attention of the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour, where he came on board as a celebrity chef and gained recognition for his culinary creations. He has since been featured on a number of different shows and has authored A Sweet and Savory Union to showcase his love of blurring the lines of sweet and savory. Dana comes to Diabetes Academy with not only a passion for food, but also the sensibility and insight that life is all about moderation.

– See more at:

Associations Between School Meals Offered Through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program and Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Children

Ramona Robinson-O’Brien, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor,a Teri Burgess-Champoux, PhD, RD, LD, Lecturer,b Jess Haines, PhD, MHScRD, Instructor,c Peter J. Hannan, MStat, Senior Research Fellow,d and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD, Professore

Kids’ lunch money lost less often in cashless cafeteria lines

More school districts converting to cashless cafeterias nationwide

By Steve Holt

The days of sending children to school with their lunch money neatly wrapped in handkerchiefs or inside their shoe or pocket is quickly giving way to a new cashless lunch payment system.

Kids' lunch money lost less often
Cash no more: Students at Fairfield High School in Texas check out of the lunch line with biometric fingerprint scanners. Their lunch accounts are automatically debited and track their purchases.

Photo by Caitlin Neal, Eagle Publications

Following a national trend toward credit card-based cashless transactions for everything from taxicabs to bail, more school districts across the country are adopting automated school lunch payment systems. Instead of fumbling through their pockets for dollar bills or change to pay for lunch, elementary, middle and high school students are increasingly breezing through the lunch line — some swiping or waving bar-coded student ID cards or punching PIN numbers on a keypad and others scanning their fingerprints on biometric readers.

Keeping track
“It tracks who bought what, when,” says Crystal Thill, food service director for the Fairfield Independent School District, located southeast of Dallas. Almost all of the district’s 1,800 students use a Web-based account system that allows parents to use credit cards or debit cards to replenish lunchroom accounts and monitor their children’s meal plans.

“Parents enjoy being able to go online to check students’ balances and monitor what the students are eating. It’s a great way to keep track of everything,” Thill says.

Lost their lunch money? A bully took it? Those familiar complaints of old are fading. Schools that have launched automated payment systems often still have traditional cash registers on hand to accept cash. School lunchroom administrators say dumping those old-style cash registers helps speed the lunchroom lines in a country where, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 5.2 billion school lunches were served every school day in 2008.

A June 2009 survey of more than 1,200 nutrition directors from school districts across the country found that 69.5 percent were currently using some form of automated lunch payments, up from 62 percent in May 2007. Another 6 percent indicated they would implement a system within 12 months, up from 4.4 percent in 2007. Also, 8.5 percent said they were considering converting to an automated payment system, according to the survey conducted by the School Nutrition Association, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit group representing more than 55,000 school lunch providers nationwide.

Automated lunch payments
The survey noted the greatest change in payment methods was more school districts accepting credit cards and debit cards via the Internet. The number of respondents reporting this type of automated payment rose from 16.4 percent in 2005 to 35.8 percent in 2007 to 63.8 percent in 2009.

“As more and more business processes are conducted via the ‘Net through electronic transactions, this will certainly grow,” says Mitch Johns, president and CEO of Food Service Solutions Inc. (, the Altoona, Pa., company that develops the software used in the Fairfield, Texas, lunchrooms. Story continues below.

May 2007 June 2009
Type of automated payment System currently in use (%) System planned in next 12 months (%) System currently in use (%) System planned in next 12 months (%)
Cash or check mailed or taken to school 91.9 67.3 86.1 53.4
Credit card or debit card via Internet 35.8 59.6 63.8 74.0
Automated payment from checking account 12.3 15.4 19.0 17.8
Credit or debit card via mail, phone or fax 7.7 11.5 8.7 6.8
Credit card or debit card at point of sale 3.4 7.7 4.7 9.6
Other payment 0.7 0 0.8 0
Source: School Nutrition Association, June 2009 survey of school district nutrition directors. The data is limited to districts that have an automated payment system currently in use or those that have plans to implement in the upcoming 12 months.

The company serves 300 school districts nationwide through its online account management system, Parents sign up on a website to view their children’s lunch account. Information on what students bought for lunch, how much it cost and when their balances drop below certain levels is available 24 hours a day. Parents can reload the accounts credit cards or debit cards linked to their checking accounts.

Alternatives to cash
As an alternative to sending little Johnny or Suzy to school with cash to pay for lunch, many school districts allow parents to send paper checks, but this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of children losing checks en route to school. A lunchroom account manager collects the checks (although sometimes homeroom teachers are charged with gathering up lunch money and checks from students in lower grades). Paper checks may take several days to be credited to the student’s lunch account.

Johns, the Food Service Solutions CEO, school districts pay $5,000 plus $1,000 per cafeteria in software fees to install his company’s automated system and another $1,800 to $3,000 per cash register for hardware. Additionally, parents pay a transaction fee of between 3 percent and 6 percent to add funds to an account using a credit card, and a flat rate of $1.50 for all ACH debit transfers, regardless of the amount.

According to Galen Reigh,’s system administrator and lead developer, each school district decides how it will allow parents to pay for lunches. “Some school districts do what we call ACH payments, and some school districts do credit card payments and some do both,” Reigh says.

Another automated lunch payment provider — New Jersey-based — allows parents to use its website to pay for more than just meals. School activities such as community education classes, after-school care, athletic events, donations, summer school and transportation are among the student payments that can be processed online.

Four to five years from now, the majority of the parents will pay online not only for school lunch, but for all school activities.

— Dov Abramson,
PayPAMS operations manager

“More and more parents have access to high speed Internet access and are getting familiar with online payments,” says Dov Abramson, operations manager at PayPAMS (Payment Account Management System). The company contracts with school districts in 23 states, including Miami-Dade County, Fla., San Diego and Prince George’s County, Md . “Four to five years from now, the majority of the parents will pay online not only for school lunch, but for all school activities.”

Parents like convenience
Parents say they like the peace of mind that cashless lunch payment brings because they know exactly how their money is being spent.

“It is certainly better than giving the children money to buy lunch,” says Tom Miller, who enrolled a middle schooler in the PayPAMS program in Miami-Dade County schools, the nation’s fourth largest school district.

More privacy
Proponents of the payment systems point to another advantage of cashless cafeterias. How much each student pays for lunch is kept private. In districts where students from low-income families receive reduced priced or free lunches, they are scanned through checkout like all other students. Classmates in line behind them do not know these students are receiving reduced priced meals — a potential source of embarrassment for some students and families.

Automated payments are not perfect, however. Students can still lose their ID cards or reveal their PIN to others who can fraudulently debit their accounts. The fingerprint scans help reduce the likelihood of these things happening.

Both PayPAMS and Food Service Solutions say parents are spreading the word about their services and asking school districts to set up online lunch payment accounts.

Says Reigh, the developer: “We’re getting more and more calls from school districts that want to get in the system and as parents learn about it, they say, ‘Hey, we want to do that too.'”

District Schools Highly Satisfied With Lunch Cashier System Cafeteria Software’s performance and customer support – School Food Service Directors

The Wordware mission with Lunch Cashier system for School District ‘s  is to actively contribute to the health of children, district staff, lunch cafeteria staff, students and other eligible customers by preparing, marketing and food service cafeteria software application.. Nutritious meals will be offered at a free and reduced price for eligible students while maintaining a financially accountable program.


Wordware Lunch Cashier system assists with your staff and parents to the new lunchroom software and is always here to help with any questions that may come up encounter while the process or after implementation Schools quickly learned how helpful our team is from the beginning and they are pleased with the technical support being provided by wordware’s experienced and dedicated technical staff. Wordware Support Team set up the software for the schools and provide training to your school staff up to the level they needed to learn the ins and outs of our school cafeteria software. From the launch of the new software, School Food Service Directors, was happy  that Wordware Lunch Cashiersystem would be an excellent fit for the children in their school.


“The implementation team and trainers did a great job getting us set up and ready for the first day of school,” say many of our valuable customers. Furthermore, their Staff have not encountered any problems, but they called for general questions. Customer care representative attends the phones calls promptly and guide them with confidence in using the lunchroom management software than before. They all are extremely satisfied that with the of wordware customer support team.


“There are many reasons why using Wordware for our lunch software has made my job easier. The remote support and ticket system have been a life saver on many occasions. The Direct Certification is simplified and the Free and Reduced timeline has kept me on track. The upgrade to the LCS1000 Mayflower has everything I need on the family dashboard for quick and easy reference. There are letter templates that can be customized by you and the numerous reporting options available are a tremendous help in documenting the daily and monthly transaction activities.” – Jean Erd, School District of Menomonee Falls


The Lunch Cashier System by Wordware, Inc. is a complete, affordable, user-friendly meal accounting system for schools, including back-office and point-of-sale management software. Lunch Cashier System is one of the Top Food Service Management Software. They provide comprehensive solutions to both school administration and food service staff. Computerized Lunch Program for school cafeterias, State and Federal reporting. Parents only need to send lunch money to one family account for all family members participating in the lunch program.

Cafeteria POS Systems and Point of Sale Software

A Fourth Grader Secretly Filmed His School Lunches To Prove A Point To His Parents

Zachary Maxwell may only be 11 years old, but he has an award-winning short film that will be screened at the Manhattan Film Festival this year.

It’s called “Yuck! — A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch,” and it exposes the dark side of the NYC Department of Education’s lunch program.

Click here to jump to the lunches >

In the fall of 2011, then-fourth grader Zachary asked his parents if he could start packing and bringing his own lunch to school. His parents insisted he keep eating the school’s hot lunch, which was not only free, but sounded delicious on the NYC Department of Education’s menu on its website.

With options like chicken nuggets with glazed carrots and beef ravioli with zucchini, Zachary’s parents weren’t sure he could provide himself the same well-balanced meals.

So to convince his parents things were not as they seemed, Zachary snuck a small HD camera into the lunchroom in his sweatshirt and eventually gathered six months worth of “inside” footage of what his lunches really looked like.

The result is “Yuck!” a 20-minute film narrated, written, and directed by Zachary and edited by CJ Maxwell, Zachary’s dad.

The film may sound cute and innocent, but what Zachary uncovered in the cafeteria of PS 130 in Little Italy was actually quite shocking. According to a review in The New York Times, which calls Zachary the “Michael Moore of the grade-school lunch room”:

Among the 75 lunches that Zachary recorded – chosen randomly, he swears – he found the menus to be “substantially” accurate, with two or more of the advertised menu items served, only 51 percent of the time. The menus were “totally” accurate, with all of the advertised items served, only 16 percent of the time. And by Zachary’s count, 28 percent of the lunches he recorded were built around either pizza or cheese sticks.

A spokeswoman for the NYC Department of Education told The Times that school lunches are healthy, and that perhaps Zachary wasn’t choosing the vegetable option each time. Zachary denies the claim.

But the documentary has made one substantial change — Zachary now brings his own lunch to school.

5 Protein-Rich Salad Toppers That Aren’t Chicken or Tuna

One of the most common suggestions I make to my clients is to swap sandwiches and wraps for salad. It’s a great way to instantly up your veggie intake. But most people have the same concern: They quickly tire of chicken and tuna, the go-to toppers for many salad eaters. If you’re bored with your protein choices too, try these alternatives for a whole new range of flavors. I predict you’ll end up with some serious salad cravings.

1. Canned sardines

These tiny fish are nutrient powerhouses. A full can packed in spring water provides 17 grams of protein, and a quarter of your daily calcium needs. Not to mention, they’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to heart and brain health, anti-inflammatory benefits, glowing skin, and shiny hair. While sardines are flavorful on their own, you can chop them and toss with a little sundried tomato pesto for some extra pizazz. Or if you’re not a fan of serving these fish straight from the can, grill or oven roast them before adding to your salad. These Rich, Fudgy Brownies Are Made with Avocado

2. Lentils

Just half a cup of this hearty pulse provides 10 grams of protein and six grams of filling fiber, along with ample vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—making it the ideal plant-based, protein-packed topper. For a low-maintinence way to add this pulse to your lunch salad, opt for vacuum sealed, canned (drained and rinsed), or even frozen pre-cookedthey’re all healthy options. To give your lentils a flavor boost, toss them in some olive tapenade, or try out this tasty mixture:

  • 1 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian herb seasoning 5 Alternatives to Trendy Superfoods That Are Just As Healthy

3. Hard-boiled eggs

One large egg packs about six grams of protein—or 3.5 grams if you use only the whites. For a unique salad topper, create a healthy egg salad by finely chopping the hard-boiled eggs and mixing with either hummus, guacamole, or seasoned tahini. Or simply slice them and sprinkle on top of a salad.

4. Frozen shrimp

Keeping a bag of frozen, pre-cooked, cleaned shrimp in the freezer can be another quick and easy substitute for the canned tuna in your pantry. Three ounces contains only 70 calories but provides 17 grams of protein, along with a healthy dose of key nutrients like selenium, vitamin B12, choline, copper, and zinc.

Simply rinse your shrimp under cold water and serve heated or chilled, whichever you prefer. Either way, here’s the recipe for my go-to sauce to dress shrimp:

  • 1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed citrus juice (orange, blood orange, tangerine, or lime)
  • ½ tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • A few slices of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 chopped chile pepper or a dash of crushed red pepper 9 Superfood Upgrades That Will Make Your Meals Even Healthier

5. Extra-lean ground turkey

Most people think of ground turkey for burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, or stuffed peppers. But it’s also a great salad topping, hot or chilled. Four ounces of raw 93% lean turkey meat becomes about three ounces when cooked, which provides 15 grams of protein. In my newest book, Slim Down Now ($16,, I suggest combining this portion of browned extra-lean ground turkey with a tasty avocado sauce. To try it yourself, puree a quarter of an avocado with these ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped basil
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

If you’d rather keep your avocado intact, serve slices over ground turkey that’s been sautéed with the seasonings above and a quarter cup of low-sodium veggie broth.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Yankees, previously consulted for three other professional sports teams, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Sass is a three-time New York Times best-selling author, and her newest book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Bearcat Diner – School Food Service Department – Kearney Public School

Bearcat Diner

Offices are located at Sunrise Middle School

4611 Avenue N Kearney Nebraska  68847,  308-698-8158


Eat Your Fruits & Veggies
The Bearcat Diner receives a Grant each year through the USDA to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students at Bryant, Central and Emerson Elementary Schools and KEC as a daily snack.
Did you know that…
• Unlike most fruits, pears ripen better off the tree.
• Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable.
• British sailors used to be called “Limeys” because they ate citrus fruits to prevent scurvy on long sea voyages.
• Some Chinese varieties of peaches are flat like donuts.
• Strawberries are the only fruit that have their seeds on the outside.
• Bell peppers can be green, red, yellow, orange or purple.
• Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same.
• Many of the nutrients in a potato are located just below the skin.
• Hawaii is the leading producer of bananas in the U.S.
• Lychee trees can live for more than 100 years.
• The first carrots were white, purple and yellow.
• Ancient Greeks awarded celery to winners of sports events.
• Broccoflower is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. It has more vitamin C than oranges and more vitamin A than either broccoli or cauliflower.
The Bearcat Diner Mission Statement
The purpose of Kearney Public School’s Bearcat Diner is to prepare and serve nutritious and appealing meals that meet the dietary guidelines to students, staff, and community in a positive, cheerful manner, while maintaining financial soundness, and contributing to the quality and excellence of a student’s education experience.

“In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, ore reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information made be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: ttp://, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Bearcat Diner Office Location & Phone Number
4611 Ave N
Kearney, NE 68847

Parent Information Letter Free & Reduced Meal Application
Instructions for Completing the Free & Reduced Application
Lunch Prices &
Monthly Payment Schedule
Check your Diner Account Balance Make an Online Payment to your Lunch Account through Efunds Menus
Healthy Changes in our School Cafeterias
Healthy Changes-Spanish Version

Elgin Public Schools – Wordware, Inc. Family Login Becomes More Secure

Elgin Public Schools Wordware, Inc. Family Login Becomes More Secure

The school year is upon us and we have rolled out a new tool allowing families to use usernames and passwords to check their lunch account balance online.  This will ensure family financial information remains secure.

What do I have to do?

Log in to Wordware, Inc. family login as usual using the Lunch Account Balance link in the Quick Links section of the front page of our website.

A short message will come up with a message regarding the changes and an option to complete the registration form.

Please complete our REGISTRATION FORM for a user account.

After you register your user account you will then be able to access the family login using your secure username and password.  If you have not signed up to go online to check your family lunch balance or you have any difficulties with the system, please contact Ann Beckman or Paula Jensen to sign up!