Today I had the privilege to attend Cafe Day for Wellness in the Schools (WITS) at PS 89, an elementary/middle school in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Natural Gourmet volunteered with WITS and was partnered with PS 89 this year. PS 89 is a school where almost all students avail themselves of the lunch program. This was the first opportunity I had to see firsthand what WITS was up to in its initiative to bring healthier food to the city’s lunch rooms.
I met our liaison and Natural Gourmet graduate, Stefanie Devic, at 8:30 am to finish preparing new menu items she was introducing to the students at lunchtime. This cafe day included quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas, beans and brown rice, pico de gallo, and fresh greens (kale and collards) with Canadian bacon. I sampled all of these offerings, and had to honestly pronounced them delicious. The new dishes were presented alongside an impressive daily salad bar, fresh fruit, and the always-reliable stand-by: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I thoroughly enjoyed dining with the students and getting their take on the food. Competition may have run neck-in-neck between the cafe day menu and peanut butter and jelly among the youngest, but i noticed it was particularly well received by the older students.
I’m glad I attended. Talking to the students, seeing the dedicated staff at PS 89, working alongside Stefanie and seeing her passion, reminded me how important this work is to our communities.