BETHEL — Ryan Kimball has been the food service director for all of SAD44 for two years. During these two years, it has been a very different and difficult time for lunch. For example, what made the past two years different is having students eat lunch in their RAP groups. RAP is a small class that we have at the beginning and end of the day to check in with each other, similar to a homeroom.

Knowing that COVID-19 has been a big problem in schools, TMS has changed lunch in the cafeteria to RAP groups. Eating lunch in the RAP has helped out by not spreading COVID-19.

TMS teachers and administrators tried changing to having one day out of the week for two groups to walk up and eat lunch back in the cafeteria to get the feel of what it is like. After a month of eating one day a week in the cafeteria, teachers sent out a survey to the students to see if they were enjoying the cafeteria. Turns out that more than half of the students liked eating lunch in their RAP groups.

This makes it easier for the chefs to bring the food down in a cart with all the RAP groups’ names on it and hand the trays out to the teachers. From there, the students grab their food off the tray and eat at their desks.

Ryan Kimball has two different ways he has been able to provide food free of charge to the SAD 44 district. The first way Chef Kimball gets funding is from the state law that was recently passed. The state gives the choice for students to get free breakfast and lunch.

The second way to give food to students is through a grant. The grant gives fresh snacks between breakfast and lunch. The most common snacks that chef hands out are cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, watermelon, cucumbers, celery, and carrots. The students can get the snacks during Period 3 from 9:30 to 9:40 a.m.

Overall, TMS students like the breakfasts, lunches, and snacks that Chef Kimball provides. The students’ favorite lunches are Max cheese sticks and chef salad. Thanks to the new law that Governor Mills put in place, Maine public schools will be providing free lunches to students with at least one healthy fruit or vegetable for all of next year as well.

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