Region 16 Food Service Director, Patricia Iraci brought the idea to Woodland. She heard about the success of other surrounding schools had in selling the hot chocolate.
“This Program has been implemented by the National Dairy Council, which is dedicated to helping people, schools, and communties incoporte more dairies in their life, and has had huge successes in surrounding towns like Hartford, Cheshire and many many more,” stated Iraci.
To sell hot chocolate in schools, the region must have permission from the National School Lunch Program a federally assisted meal program operating under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which lets students know what items can be sold in a school cafeteria.
“Region 16 participates in the NSLP which means that the Federal Government has a lot of rules and regulations that we follow to receive Federal Reimbursements,” says Iraci. “They subsidize the food service program and in return we offer healthier options and sell what is acceptable on a nutritional basis.”
The government also gives grants to the lunch program, for a higher satisfaction from students and overall higher participation. This is where the “Hot Chocolate Program” starts. The NDC’s grant allows school cafeterias to sell hot chocolate during the winter season.
“The Government also occasionally awards grants, which is money that is given for certain programs to increase participation and overall satisfaction of our students. This hot chocolate program is one of those grants. The NDC works together with federal nutritionists on ideas on how we can get more students to drink milk,” Iraci described.
This grant allows the school to sell a milk option while serving a fun, winter option for students during their lunch blocks.
Sophomore, Jake Veillette, believes that the hot chocolate program is a good addition to the Woodland cafeteria.
“I have always felt as if hot chocolate would be a good thing to sell. When it’s cold out, I really don’t want to be drinking cold water.”
The hot chocolate will be part of a regular meal as a milk option. It’s 1% chocolate milk, and will be sold during breakfast and lunch. It can also be purchased as its own item. The hot chocolate is estimated to start being sold by January 7th.
Iraci hopes that this program will be a succesful additon for Woodland,
“I love trying new things and if this doesn’t work I will try something else. We believe that we only fail when we stop trying.”