A West Kelowna family is disgusted over what Chief Tomat Elementary School is serving their daughter for lunch.
Randy Millis says his nine-year-old daughter came home upset about the food she was receiving and said she was being served a lot of fries, deep fried, breaded food and very little to no fruits or vegetables.
“She in many cases was getting no veggie servings or was getting a baby carrot or two and a slice of cucumber,” he said.
After contacting the school and being told the March menu has been set, Millis took the matter into his own hands.
“Finally, I just asked her to take my old iPhone and take pictures of her lunch, and the photos we got back after a week's worth were quite surprising,” he said.
Clara took pictures of the meals she received every day for a week, excluding pizza day, which falls on a Wednesday.
Chief Tomat’s website says “the CTE Meals Program offers nutritious lunches prepared on site at a reasonable cost.”
Principal Gurprit Hayher said the menu is vetted by healthy food co-ordinators for the district, and they "have a professional chef who prepares everything, and so it is up to par."
Millis said one morning Clara didn’t want to go to school because of the food.
“I know they have quite a challenge with their budget of feeding 50 kids, but to me it really doesn’t seem to be at par or appetizing,” said Millis. “It looked gross, actually.”
Both Millis and his partner are Type 2 diabetics, so nutrition is important to them.
“Clara has a 70 per cent chance of getting diabetes, and I think these lunches that are breaded and fried have a lot of carbs and very little vegetables, are a risk factor,” said Millis.
Clara has been invited to “come down and pick up extra fruit, or that kind of thing, if they feel that she needs that in her diet,” said Hayher.
Hayher said how quickly the program fills up tells him it is popular and that it is meeting peoples needs.
“The menu will go home on a Monday, and parents are running in Monday after school to get signed up. By Tuesday morning, it is fully subscribed," said Hayher. "It is meeting a need in our community, and people like it.”
The meal program for March cost $37.50, $3.75 for 10 days, according to a flyer given out to parents.
“In our case, we are subsidized, so we don’t have to pay for it, but the fee-paying kids get the same lunch,” said Millis.
Hayher said they could bring their own food if they want.
The healthy food co-ordinators that vet the Chief Tomat menu also work throughout the school district, as confirmed by Hayher.
“I would like to know what can be done to address this,” said Millis. “I am concerned what this might be like for other schools in SD23.”