By Shelley Widhalm, Reporter-Herald Staff Writer
Loveland Classical Schools in the running for $25,000 grant to start school lunch program
When Loveland Classical Schools opened in fall 2011, the founders of the charter school planned to have a lunch program. Three years later, the school’s application for a grant will make that a reality if enough supporters give their vote. The school entered a contest for one of 40 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grants of $25,000 and is competing among 200 finalists through a Facebook voting process.
“I have just seen the need in our school and our community for us to have a hot lunch program,” said Lauren Bratten, a front desk staff member at Loveland Classical Schools, 3835 SW 14th St. “Everyone has to bring a lunch from home every day.”
Ella Poerr, a fifth-grader of the school, finds making her lunch every morning to be “annoying.”
“It takes really long. It gets really annoying,” the 10-year-old said.
Fifth-grader Courtney Farrell keeps forgetting her lunch or leaves her lunchbox at school, she said. She likes the option of purchasing a hot lunch instead of taking her own, she said.
“You’re not going to have the same thing every day,” she said. “I won’t forget anything because it’s already at school.”
A hot lunch program would open up the school to more students, said Heidi Miller, central support administrator for the school.
“We want to make sure all kids have access to the school. We want to make sure anybody when wants to come here can,” Miller said.
Bratten suggested the State Farm grant to raise the funds needed to serve hot lunch to staff and students, particularly those who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
The school has a kitchen that would need to be converted into a commercial kitchen, Bratten said. The grant money will allow the school to purchase an industrial refrigerator, steamers and other appliances to help make that conversion, she said.
“Our biggest cost is the start-up costs,” Bratten said.
State Farm, a Bloomington, Illinois-based insurance provider, is giving $1 million to community causes across the nation in the areas of education, safety and community development. From 4,000 submissions, State Farm’s youth advisory board selected the finalists using a vetting process, “We need all the community support we can get just to stay in the top 40,” Bratten said, adding that the school’s proposed lunch program has ranked third through ninth since voting began.
The last day for the public to vote is May 16, and supporters can vote 10 times a day, either separately or all at once. Voting can be done at https://state-assist.com/cause/1403798/lunch-program-for-lcs.
The winners will be announced Tuesday, May 27.