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East County Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2020 1 month ago

Student meals delivered in style in east Bradenton

Tara Elementary's cafeteria staff dresses in different themes as they deliver meals to students in need.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

As a family pulled up to Tara Elementary School and requested two meals, cafeteria staff members Lisa Sheedy, Lisa Andrews and Laura Rowe worked together June 3 to pull the meals together.

Sheedy wore a pair of blue pajamas, Andrews had on floral pajamas, and Rowe wore Mickey Mouse holiday pajamas as part of Pajama Day. 

Ashley Dodd, the cafeteria manager at Tara, said her team, which she calls “The Fantastic Four,” will continue to dress in different themes each day they distribute meals as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer BreakSpot program.

The program began June 1. Staff from the School District of Manatee County’s Food and Nutrition Services will distribute meals at 23 schools throughout the county to students who are 18 years old or younger. Meals will also be available at community sites.

The menu includes sandwiches, burgers, wraps, fresh fruit and vegetables, and low-fat milk.

Food and Nutrition Services distributed more than 900,000 meals across the county from April through May 29, when schools were closed due to COVID-19 and students were at home for e-learning.

Dodd started the theme days while distributing meals during e-learning.

“It gets kids involved,” Dodd said. “It gives them something to look forward to every day. It makes it a little more fun.”

Dodd uses themes from past spirit weeks, themes she finds online and suggestions families post on the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization Facebook page.

Themes have included pajama day, Western day and ’80s day.

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