Guess who I had coffee with last week…

I apologize for missing some blog posts some days and writing short blurbs others. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve been busy.

A couple weeks ago I received an email that someone wanted to meet me. I worked with one of his assistants to find a time and location that worked. And that’s how I ended up having coffee with Senator Dick Durbin.

I admit it: I was a little starstruck. Going on TV is fun and all, but meeting a senator? To me that’s more important. We chatted about school lunch and how it needs to be reformed. He mentioned that when he tours schools, he asks to see the cafeteria. Senator Durbin┬áhas a passion for school lunch reform –who knew?

It’s the food that needs attention but also the time allotted for eating as well as when children eat. Before meeting the senator, I chatted at length with his assistant, who happens to have two children who go to schools within Chicago Public School system. If I remember correctly, both of her children eat lunch sometime around 10:30 am. Her eldest has stopped eating lunch because no one is hungry that early. Last year at my school I noticed that many six graders didn’t eat much from their school lunches, but I was naive to hope that wasn’t widespread. Sigh.

Full disclosure: I’ve voted for Senator Durbin so I might be a fan. I asked if it would be okay if I could get a picture with him and he said it would be no problem. I also gave him a book and signed it to him. What a month this has been!

(Note: I made sure it was okay to post the photo on the blog)

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12 thoughts on “Guess who I had coffee with last week…

  1. Kindergarteners at our school eat lunch at 10:30 and then the rest of the grades cycle through the cafeteria until the 5th graders are eating at around 1:30 or something like that. It’s sort of crazy, but the cafeteria isn’t big enough for the whole school. I’m not sure I’d be able to come up with anything better. ???

    As a result, parents of kindergarteners and 1st graders are asked to sign up to bring snacks for their class for a week each semester. Since they’re eating so early, they need a snack in the afternoon to make it until dinner that night. I’m not sure what they do for the older kids. (ours aren’t that old yet) I guess they just have to stay hungry until their late lunchtime.

    1. At the school where I volunteer, the kids that eat the early lunch have an afternoon snack and the kids eating the later lunches have a morning snack time. All the snacks are sent in by the parent of each child.

    2. I understand the time and physical constraints of the cafeteria. My little guy eats at 10:40 (after they have a school provided breakfast of- don’t get me started on the kind of junk that qualifies- at about 7:50-since he eats my breakfast at home and sometimes the junk they serve, often times he’s not even interested in eating at 10:40!), but they have no snack time! In KINDERGARTEN! His teachers say it’s his responsibility to remember to get his snack if he wants it. HE’s 5! By the time 3;00 rolls around, he’s grumpy, hungry, it’s really frustrating! I feel like I’m up against a system I can’t change but that is really not good-almost hurting-my kido!

  2. I saw an article in USA Today written by Angelica Almaraz and it made reference to your book, Fed up With Lunch. This article and book were perfect timing. My Action Research Project for my college graduation is about School Lunches and do they contribute to the obesity of our children and how unhealthy they are for our children. I have two girls (15 & 11) and I used to have to send in snacks for them too as they ate so early or late in the day. Some parents just sent in bags of chips. It was so unhealthy. There are many meals served at my children’s school that they won’t even eat and they just happened to be unhealthy anyway. My research shows many schools are making an honest attempt to change their ways. I wish all schools would serve healthier foods. It is amazing at the number of obese children in this country and what it will mean to them as they get older.

  3. Same at my son’s school. He is in kinder and starts at 7:45. They also eat a really early lunch and the different grades rotate because they all can’t fit in the cafeteria at once. The kids can all bring snacks with them to eat at recess. My son barely eats his lunch because he’s not hungry that early, but fortunately he’s out of school at noon so he can eat when he gets home.

    1. So are you saying they have lunch at school for the half day K kids? That’s crazy. My kids both did AM and were out @ 11:45, so lunch was at home. No snack either, unless it was someone’s birthday and mom bought something from the “approved party snack list.” They lived. If anything, it made them see the importance of eating a good breakfast at home to tide them over. I can’t see how anything would get done if they had stopped for lunch!

  4. My son eats lunch at 10:05 am. He doesn’t get home until 3:15 on the days he has no after school activities. He does not have any snack time during his school day. As you can imagine, he is absolutely starving when he gets home.

  5. Its 10 am and I’m actually on my lunch break at the school I work! Its rather insane that I have practically a different lunch time every day of the week and my school’s start time is 7 am for breakfast duty and by the time the day is over I am absolutely starving more so then the kids! It makes me hate being an art teacher some days because of my inconsistent schedules during the week because its hard to help me keep my weight in check as well!

  6. I find the early and late lunches so frustrating. Not to mention not long enough lunches to actually eat. My Freshman babysitter does not buy lunch at school any more because she said she can’t get through the line before lunch is over. Sad.

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