School Nutrition Program
Liberty’s Kitchen has pioneered the return of fresh made-from-scratch meals for New Orleans charter/public school children. Our School Nutrition Program currently provides about 4,000 freshly-prepared and nourishing meals daily to New Orleans low-income public school children. Our program is a model for changing the eating patterns among low and extremely low-income children, demonstrating that nutritious and healthy food can be successfully served in our schools.
Through our School Nutrition Program, Liberty’s Kitchen is a significant partner to New Orleans’ charter schools. School meals – often high in fat, sodium and refined sugars and skimpy on fresh fruits and vegetables – are contributing to soaring childhood diabetes and obesity rates – and impeding kids’ ability to learn. While there is no panacea to address these significant health challenges, transforming school-based food programs is an essential building block for student success. Healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school and are more prepared and motivated to learn.
While the primary responsibility of schools is to foster academic achievement, Liberty’s Kitchen gives schools an exceptional opportunity to guide children toward healthier lifestyles by serving wholesome, freshly-prepared meals and creating a healthy nutrition environment. This expanding program has allowed Liberty’s Kitchen to demonstrate on a daily basis, that healthy and nutritious meals can be served by a local organization in a cost competitive manner. We meet, or exceed, the USDA standards for reimbursable meals and all of our meals are freshly prepared from scratch using whole ingredients.
In addition to providing nourishing meals to school children, the School Lunch Program has allowed us to better serve our Youth Development Program participants by providing them with experiential training in a more rigorous, high production foodservice setting, as well as employment opportunities for our program graduates. Liberty’s Kitchen, unlike other area programs that use a culinary based approach, is the only local food service-based organization that combines workforce development training for some of our most vulnerable youth while providing fresh and nutritious meals for low income public schoolchildren. These dual social benefits are boosting the work of Liberty’s Kitchen into the social vanguard for changing eating habits and life prospects of low-income youth in New Orleans.