October 01, 2023

LETTER: An inquiry rather than a ‘calling out’

I am reaching out regarding the Creston News Advertiser article on Sept. 11 related to concerns over the school lunch programs in the Creston Community Schools.

The Union County Food Coalition is a group of community members coming together to build just that, a coalition: a group of folks working together to create a stronger, healthier food system for all. We see Creston Community School District as a valuable partner in these efforts, as children are often most vulnerable to food insecurity.

Brian Zachary, who was quoted in the article, has been a long-time local foods advocate and volunteer in the Creston community, dedicating countless hours to improving access to local foods and addressing food insecurity. In my perspective, the quoted comment about the school’s lunch packaging was more of an inquiry that merited further research, rather than a “calling out” of the school’s nutrition program.

The conversation quoted in the paper was a fraction of the coalition’s overall meeting. In fact, the bulk of the meeting was focused on other projects, such as an upcoming make-and-take community class, preschool teacher kits, food value chain coordination, community education, and outreach to the senior community.

The school’s nutrition director has participated in coalition meetings and shared input and perspective regarding nutrition and food insecurity in the schools, which is greatly appreciated.

While I genuinely appreciate the Advertiser’s coverage of local foods efforts, I want to make clear that the coalition exists to positively support the school nutrition programs in all of Union County and acknowledge the effort made by Creston Community School’s nutrition staff to meet the needs of our children.