CMS receives grant for needed kitchen upgrades

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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Callaway Middle School was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the No Kids Hungry Foundation. The grant will be used to purchase an additional oven and a new Combi, a combined oven and steamer, to help prepare the three meals CMS feeds its nearly 1,000 students daily.

CMS serves over 200 students breakfast, 600 students lunch and 400 students dinner daily, according to Diane Pain, director of school nutrition for the Troup County School System.

Students are offered traditional school lunches such as pizza and nachos with vegetable and fruit options, as well as non-meat options such as sandwiches with chips. Breakfast follows the same traditional food pattern, while the dinner option can be a take-home option like baked ziti some days.

“We serve a lot of adolescents, and they need a lot of nutrition,” Pain explained. “They need to eat well, not just eat.”

Callaway Middle School is a Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, school, which essentially means that its students are offered non-price meal service options since it is located in a low-income area.

Essentially, Pain said, children eat free at CMS whether they are financially able to buy their meals or not.

Pain noted in her outline to No Kids Hungry that CMS has seen a dramatic increase in meals this past year, largely due to the return of meals served through the cafeteria rather than grab-and-go meal options that were available during the initial stage of the pandemic. CMS was formerly able to send meals to students during non-school hours, but this practice was eliminated this year.

Meals at CMS are prepped and made in two-hour intervals, Pain said, making the additional equipment greatly needed to help aid in the turnaround process.

“We only have two ovens right now, and it’s just not enough to prepare all the food we do,” Pain said.

CMS was the only TCSS school Pain submitted an application for the grant, she said, as it was the most in need of the new equipment.