New Kitchen Gives Nittany Valley Christian School Students Fresh Take on Lunch
The students at the Nittany Valley Christian School received an early gift this December. The school put in a new kitchen, allowing it to provide healthy, homemade lunches right on the premises.
For the 125 students who attend the Ferguson Township school, the new lunches are a step beyond the lunches they used to receive from State College Area School District, and “lunch lady” Colette Moriarity makes sure of it.
“There was nothing wrong with the lunches before, but they would come from another school on a van, and it was a lot of processed food,” said Moriarity. “So, we wanted a way to make good, healthy, locally sourced food from scratch right here.”
The new kitchen cost $40,000, and the money was raised through an auction and private donations to the school, said principal Nancy Eberly. The school, which has students in kindergarten through eighth grade, is located on Whitehall Road. It shares a building with the State College Alliance Church, but serves children from many different denominations.
Eberly said the kitchen allows the school to treat lunch as the important part of the day that it is.
“We see this an investment in our students, in their health, by giving them a healthy lunch and teaching them about maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” said Eberly. “We want them to be healthy, to eat healthy, and we want to provide food that the children and parents can feel good about.”
The kitchen also allows the school to be as environmentally friendly as possible, which is a focus for the school, said Eberly. The kitchen uses local farms for products, and recycles and composts as much as possible.
"We try to teach that it is important to take care of all that God has given us,” said Eberly.
So far, the students seem to be liking the change, as the number of students receiving lunch at the school has jumped from around 25 to 80.
“The lunch is really good,” said sixth-grader Jannae Hass. “We get to have different things and everything is fresh.”
The breakfast burritos, soup with rolls and macaroni and cheese are some of the meals that students have enjoyed the most so far, with many excited to try new things in the future.
The work in the kitchen is a labor of love and caring, as Moriarity, a mother of two students in the school, typically works with parent volunteers to prepare the lunches. Some days, even Eberly lends a hand.
Moriarity said she is happy to be part of a school that does great work for its students, and she knows how important a good lunch can be.
“Food is love,” said Moriarity. “So every day we try to fill their bellies with good nutritious food to show that we care.”