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4RHC Helps Revive Jordan Valley Program

As seen in the Argus Observer, 12/19/14

by Jessica Else

JORDAN VALLEY—Four Rivers Healthy Community and Jordan Valley School District have partnered to bring the district a hot breakfast program.

The nonprofit organization has donated $2,000 in equipment and supplies. Oregon Food Bank-Southeast Oregon Services has passed along six microwaves that had been donated to that nonprofit. All of these will be delivered to the school in early January.

The district let go of its meal program at the beginning of the school year. It had only been in effect for four or five years, according to Superintendent Jennifer Pettit. Before that, students brought their own food to school or walked to local restaurants.

For the past several years, the district had contracted with local restaurants, such as the Basque Inn, to provide hot lunches for their students, but that era has come to an end. The necessary paperwork and regulations on what foods could be served became too much of a hassle, Pettit said, and the program wasn’t worth it for the district’s 81 students.

Now students have reverted to bringing their own food or making the five-minute trek to the J.V. Cafe for lunch.

With the new equipment, however, Jordan Valley School District plans to start up a hot breakfast program after the winter break.

“It’s a matter of organizing,” Jordan Valley School District secretary Lauretta Wroten said. “We’re lining it all up. We have two separate schools, so we’ll try to do it in two places.”

Wroten worked with Four Rivers Healthy Community Executive Director Casey Clark Ney to outfit the school with new appliances and kitchen items as well as food supplies. The pair bought toasters, slow cookers, griddles and a Vitamix blender, as well as basic kitchen equipment for the district and brought back foodstuffs to kickstart the program as well.

“We got quick and easy things,” Wroten said. “English muffins for toast, cheese sticks, apples, oranges, bananas and pancake mix.”

They also picked up a few more labor-intensive meal items, such as breakfast meats and steel-cut oats.

“We’ll put the steel-cut oats in the Crock Pots the night before and have it ready in the morning for oatmeal,” Wroten said. “And we’ll have things like blueberries to put in our oatmeal or smoothies.”

Ney will be delivering the microwaves from the Oregon Food Bank. Today she is picking up a cook stove so the district can do some baking.

Wroten said everyone at Jordan Valley School District is excited about the new program and they’re thankful for the help.

“We’re set up,” Wroten said. “We’re ready to rock and roll.”

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