Death Cab for Cutie's surprise concert in Seattle last month raised $7,185.06 for Seattle Public School's lunch program which will provide a nutritious lunch to hundreds of students who otherwise couldn't have afforded it.
At $3 per student, that's 2,395 students, says SPS Director of Nutrition Services Eric Boutin.
Proceeds from the concert will go into effect in the 2011-2012 school year, when kitchen managers at all 20 SPS secondary school will help students access the funds based on need.
This is the second time the Bellingham band has donated money to support the Seattle school district's school lunch program. In January 2009, the band contributed $2,200 in ticket sales from shows played the previous year to help students get access to school lunches they couldn't have afforded.
Currently, more than 44 percent of Seattle public school students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch. "Many more families are right on the border of being eligible," says Boutin, lauding Death Cab for Cutie for their efforts. Most of the funding for free and reduced lunch comes from federal funds. A small amount is from the state, which will reduce its funding next year. Boutin is still trying to figure out what that will mean for the program.
"We continue to try to expand our 'local farmer connections' and do good things for kids with the menu—but any cutback in funding—even the few pennies we get from the state is not helpful," Boutin says.
Remember Boutin's announcement last fall about how Tom Douglas's chefs will team up with Seattle schools to create made-from-scratch meals in its cafeterias for the first time?
Well, that's already happening. The chefs have been working with the SPS central kitchen team to develop recipes. Boutin says the new recipes will be introduced this fall through "family nights" at six schools where they will be marketed and taste-tested with students and their families. "We hope to have them on the menu starting in the fall," he says. Boutin's team is also working to tie the launch with Food Day on Oct. 24, which will celebrate the connection between food, farmers, and good health.