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Manteca Unified serves 23,000 meals every school day
Lu Lamont at George McParland Elementary School processes students meal payments on a computer during lunch. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

The Manteca Unified School District prepares meals every single day of the school year to more people than there are residents in Ripon or Lathrop (pop. 18,203 Census 2010) or Ripon (pop. 14,297).

“We prepare approximately 23,000 meals a day,” and that includes breakfast, lunch and the snack program, said Nutrition Services Director Patty Page.

An army of 125 kitchen and cafeteria personnel, including the administrative officials at the district office headed by Page, are responsible for preparing and delivering all of the nutritious food that feed students at the district’s 24 elementary schools and eight high schools including the campuses of New Vision High School in Weston Ranch, Manteca Day School on West Yosemite Avenue, and Calla High School on South Austin Road at the corner of East Highway 120. Meals are prepared and delivered like clockwork, and with precision and care that even the military would probably envy.

The high school campuses have their own cafeterias where the students’ meals are prepared.

On the elementary level, however, not all of the schools have their own kitchens. Instead, there are five designated campus locations in the district equipped with what is called a main kitchen. The rest of the schools have meals-on-wheels prepared at these main kitchens and delivered via food vans piping hot and fresh into their cafeterias.

Below are the school sites with main kitchens, and the campuses that they service:

•August Knodt School in Weston Ranch, which prepares the meals for Great Valley, the Great Valley Annex, and the George Komure schools in that area in French Camp. Kitchen staff is headed by Sharon Bright.

•Joshua Cowell School at Pestana Drive services the cafeterias at Golden West, Shasta, Lincoln, and Manteca Day schools. In charge of kitchen staff is Rosalie Teicheira.

•George McParland School is the main kitchen site for Neil Hafley, New Haven, French Camp, and McParland Annex schools. Head of the kitchen staff is Eunice Steves.

•Stella Brockman School prepares and provides the meals for Lathrop Elementary, Lathrop Jr. High, Joseph Widmer, Jr., and (Lathrop) Mossdale schools. Joy Finocchio is in charge of the main kitchen.

•Walter Woodward School is the main kitchen site for the cafeterias at Brock Elliott, Nile Garden, Sequoia, and Veritas Schools. Maryjayne Brocchini is head of the kitchen staff.

In charge of the high school cafeterias are: Annastascia Yager at East Union; Lynette Kane at Lathrop High, Faith Fennelly at Manteca High, Kathy Reasor at Sierra High and Calla High, and Robyn Descovich at Weston Ranch High and New Vision in French Camp.

Lunch at the elementary level is $1.75; $2.25 for high school students. The reduced rate for both elementary and high school lunches, for those who are qualified based on family income, is 40 cents per meal.

Breakfast is also served at all schools, which is 75 cents for elementary students and $1 each for those in high school. The reduced rate for those qualified is 25 cents per meal.

NEXT: Healthier food and drink choices for Manteca Unified School District students – no more sodas on campus, they have been replaced by bottled water; meals are prepared with lower fat and sodium contents; gluten-free meals available.