Update from Food Services and Wellness: Chef Ann returns, Breakfast in the Classroom expands, farmers visit and more

School menus online

Reminder: All school menus can be found online.  Elementary print menus were distributed to students in early January.


A note on the recent federal nutrition changes

While the federal government recently relaxed regulations regarding sodium and whole grains in USDA reimbursable meal programs, the food services program in Bellingham Public Schools is committed to our Good Food Promise. We serve more than 5,000 meals each day and we “meet or exceed” federal standards for all food served in our schools. Changes at the federal level will not result in lower standards locally in Bellingham.

National news cited concerns about children not eating meals under the regulations that increased whole grain expectations and reduced sodium intake allowed. In our schools, school meal participation has risen in the last year, and waste audits conducted in our schools show a decrease in food being wasted in the cafeteria. More students are eating more healthy meals each day. As our food services program transitions to the new Central Kitchen, families can expect to see more meals that deliver on The Good Food Promise.

A happy and healthy 2019 to all,

Patrick Durgan, Executive Chef and Director of Food Services
Jessica Sankey, Director of Wellness


ICYMI (in case you missed it): Central Kitchen now open; transition to the new space begins

The new Central Kitchen, located in the Irongate neighborhood off Bakerview Road, is complete and open for business. Food services administration and office staff moved in over winter break, and kitchen staff is coming onboard in January. To view photos of the ribbon-cutting and the new space, visit here and here. At the end of January, with the closure of the old Sehome High production kitchen, operations will begin ramping up in the Central Kitchen.


Chef Ann visits Bellingham to view the finished Central Kitchen 

Chef Ann Cooper visited Bellingham in December to celebrate the opening of the Central Kitchen. (Photo below: Ann Cooper with Patrick Durgan on Dec. 19) Chef Ann’s team and the Whole Kids Foundation partnered to bring the School Food Support Initiative to Bellingham. Both organizations have supported the new Central Kitchen every step of the way. Chef Ann’s first visit to the district was in the fall of 2015, followed by a public program in January of 2016, laying out her school food vision and expertise. She was delighted to return and see the hard work and thinking that had gone into our project over the past three years.

Chef Ann and Chef Patrick


Breakfast in the Classroom phased in at Shuksan Middle School

Shuksan Middle School is the first middle school in the district to offer Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), supported with grants from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) Breakfast Meals for Kids which paid for the needed equipment. The program started with sixth grade classrooms in early November and was expanded to the entire school a month later.  Read more on the Promise website…


Whatcom Farm-to-School organizes additional farmer visits

Thanks to the coordination of Whatcom-Farm-to-School, Giana Wakim visited Birchwood Elementary School on Dec. 7, (photo below) bringing along a variety of alliums to coincide with the harvest of the month. Previously, farmer Helen Solem visited Cordata Elementary School in late October. Click here to see more photos and read Promise story here.

Giana Farmer

Harvests of the Month continue throughout the winter

During the winter months, students will learn about apples in January and frozen berries in February. For more about these fruits and for a few featured recipes, visit the Whatcom Farm to School website.

And one more ICYMI:  First responders have lunch with students across the district

The Whatcom County firefighters’ visit to the Geneva cafeteria in December was the latest resounding success of the First Responder Lunch Program that promotes visits in our schools during the lunch hour. Encourage any first responders you may know to visit with our students over lunch. Read more…

Sheriff Collins

Reminder: online payments available

We regularly notify families about low or negative balances in student food services accounts.

An easy way to add money to a food account is by making payments through the online system called MyPaymentsPlus Families can also continue to pay for school meals with cash or check at their school. First time registering? Visit our Food Services Online Payments webpage for step-by-step instructions.