“With the programs we have right now, the kids can pick out what they want, it’s all pre-wrapped and packaged. It’s so much better for the kids to have fresh stuff. This program is about helping kids better understand the role food and general nutrition play in their daily lives.” shared Cindy.
Living in New Lothrop, Cindy Schlachter doesn’t have the shortest drive to work in Flint, but she loves what she does, and it shines through in her work. As a Food Service Director at St. Paul Lutheran School, Cindy is able to be involved in a variety of aspects from ordering food for students to ensuring all students and families have healthy, nutritious meals. She even has been known to go shopping herself at local farmers’ markets to find the freshest food.
Having held this position for over 11 years, serving 40 students every day, Cindy has seen many youths grow up right before her eyes. As a vegetarian, Cindy has always had a strong passion for ensuring everyone has access to healthy food. When her 2 sons were growing up, she wanted to be able to find a way to follow her passion while still being supportive of them. It became clear that working in the school would allow her to do just that, and she never stopped.
“Kids have such personalities, and their faces will tell you how they feel about the food when they come through the lunch line. When the kids get choices, they feel involved and heard. For a child to succeed throughout the entire school day, healthy food is essential.” Cindy said.
St. Paul Lutheran School has been a lucky recipient of the 10 Cents a Meal program, which is a state-funded program providing schools and early childhood education centers with match incentive funding up to 10 cents per meal to purchase and serve Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
This program provides opportunities for local farmers to do business with schools locally, providing nutritious meals for students throughout the school year. Another vital role that Cindy has played in helping to secure grant funding for the school to help her realize her vision. She applied through the Michigan Department of Education for the 10 Cents a Meal grant and was awarded funding that helped her be able to afford to buy healthier options for students. “With the programs we have right now, the kids can pick out what they want, it’s all pre-wrapped and packaged. It’s so much better for the kids to have fresh stuff. This program is about helping kids better understand the role food and general nutrition play in their daily lives.” shared Cindy.
Crim Nutrition Program Coordinator Shanna Moore works a lot with the students in the classroom, teaching nutrition lessons. One lesson she taught was focused on school lunches, with the goal of being to help students understand the importance of increasing their consumption of fruits & vegetables and physical activity throughout the day. Shanna told us, “I enjoy teaching students about how the choices they make now impact their future. Having the 10 Cents a Meal program in St. Paul’s lunchroom allows students to take what they have learned and put it to good use. You can easily see the dedication that Cindy has to ensure her students learn by their deep understanding of health and nutrition.”
Cindy is inspired daily by the children and loves that she gets to share her passion for healthy food with them, in any way that only she can. “When you can show up in the classroom and give them something new to taste, (even just a taste test) this is the perfect opportunity for the kids to try new things. While I only see them for a few minutes in the lunchroom some days, a simple smile or stopping to listen to a short story allows for them to have a more positive perspective about nutrition.” Cindy shared.