School breakfast and lunch may be familiar to most of us, but supper? At school? When school is out and parents are still at work, children need a safe place to be with their friends, with structured activities and supportive adults.

Why provide an afterschool meal?

The activities in the DSUSD afterschool programs are constructive, safe, engaging, and fun. Providing a meal or snack to accompany these programs gives those children (including teenagers through age 18) a substantial nutrition boost to continue to learn and grow even after school is over for the day.

Currently Desert Sands Unified School District’s nutrition services team provides 963 students with healthy snacks and 848 students with kid-friendly supper meals daily. Afterschool items consist of low-fat or non-fat milk, protein (meat item), whole grains, vegetables, and/or fruit.

Do I have to pay for meals and snacks?

supper

Supper being served at John Kennedy Elementary School.

Payment for breakfast, lunch, and a la carte items during the school day is subject to household income and community eligibility guidelines set forth by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you are not approved for free or reduced-price meals you are responsible to pay for those meals. However, Desert Sands Unified School District has a strict policy against what has become known as “lunch shaming.” This term is applied nationally to schools that embarrass children in line for food service that money is owed on their account. DSUSD does not put a child in that situation and works solely with the parents when lunch money is due.

But, afterschool snack and supper are paid for ALL students 18 years of age (18 at the beginning of the school year) and younger at the participating schools. The program is paid through the National Child and Adult Care Food Program. Parents and guardians do NOT need to fill out an application for meals for after school supper or snack.

Why are some schools approved for afterschool programs and some are not?

School sites must meet all of the criteria below to be eligible to participate in afterschool meals:

  • Must have at least half of school’s attending students eligible for free or reduced priced meals.
  • Must offer educational or enrichment activities after the end of school day.
  • Must meet licensing, health, and safety requirements of the state and local laws.
  • Must serve a nutritionally balanced meal or snack that meet USDA’s nutrition standards.

My child is allergic to peanuts.  I noticed peanut butter sandwich is on the menu.

Special accommodations can be made for any medically necessary food allergies or intolerances. You must complete the Request for Special Meal Accommodations form and have a California licensed physician sign it. You can request the form from your school’s cafeteria operator or email Jodi.Schneider@desertsands.us.

My child wants to share the supper with the family at home.  Is it permissible to bring the food home?

Unfortunately, food served at school is to be eaten at school. Health and food safety codes do NOT allow food to be taken off site.

My child says he/she is hungry when I pick him/her up at 6 p.m.

Estimated meal times vary by site but, generally, supper is served three to four hours after lunch (typically 2:30-3 p.m.). It is normal to feel a little hungry three to four hours after a meal/snack, especially after exercise or engaging in activities like the ones provided after school. Suggestions for feeding your child after pick up: light dinner of small portions, whole grains, low fat, low sodium items, and plenty of veggies. Avoid high-fat fast food.

Won’t my child become obese with all this food?

Our nutritionally balanced meals are spaced throughout the day. A regular meal cycle curbs hunger and helps regulate blood sugar. Calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are age appropriate and needed for children to grow properly. Teaching children to eat at regular intervals is key to physical development. Parents can encourage children to drink lots of water and be active to further enhance a healthy lifestyle.

How can Domino’s pizza be healthy?

One of the selections on the menu is, in fact, Domino’s “Smart Slice” pizza. It is only available in schools at this time. It features whole grain crust, reduced fat cheese, and pepperoni. The kids love it and it is a healthy alternative.

Check here to see if YOUR school offers an afterschool program.

Serving healthy snacks: Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Shadow Hills high schools; Palm Desert Charter Middle School; Lyndon B. Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, and Harry Truman elementary schools.

Serving healthy supper: Desert Ridge, Indio, and Thomas Jefferson middle schools; Dr. Reynaldo Carreon Jr., Benjamin Franklin, Herbert Hoover, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Van Buren, and, newly added, Richard Oliphant elementary schools.

To view the supper menu and to learn more about the DSUSD nutrition services programs, click here, then click on “Menu” tab, then the “Supper” button.

Image Sources

  • Supper: DSUSD
  • Supper: DSUSD