ELKHART— Hundreds of students and their families recently got an early taste of dining options that may be offered at Elkhart Community Schools for the upcoming school year.

The district hosted its fourth annual Food Service Showcase on Thursday night at the Elkhart Central High School cafeteria.

The event was designed to highlight food items that are currently available at the schools or could be added to the breakfast and lunch menus.

More than 30 food vendors were set up serving attendees everything from Korean barbecue tacos and pulled pork sandwiches to teriyaki chicken and pasta salad as well as an array of other Mexican, Italian, Asian food samples.

Representatives from each vendor were on hand inform parents of the ingredients used in their products.

Pam Melcher, food service director at the school district, said each year the district strives to improve its food service program and seeks feedback from parents and students to achieve the effort.

“This event helps us choose items that the kids like or would want to see on the menus,” she said. “We also have informational pieces for parents informing them about the lunch program and how to put money on their account, which helps them prepare before the school year starts.”

Nikki Quesinberry attended the event for her first time with her niece Kaylie Larsen, who will be an eighth-grader at North Side Middle School this year.

Quesinberry said she was impressed by the quality of the food and the variety of options offered.

“I remember when I was in school and the stuff they served us and it was nothing like this,” she said. “There’s just so much variety and it’s all delicious. I give it an A +.”

Her niece agreed. “The food was good, I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I hope they start serving the pulled pork and chips because that was my favorite.”

Overall Melcher said she believes the showcase was a success. She said the event continues to grow each year with this year being the largest turnout.

“I would say each year we’re usually up by 50 to 100 people,” she said. “I think a lot of that has to do with word of mouth and parents and students having a strong interest in what we will or could be serving for the school year.”

Breakfast and lunch prices will increase by 10 cents for the 2019-20 school year.

That will bring the price of breakfast at the elementary schools to $1.85, breakfast at the middle schools to $2.05, and $2.10 at the high schools.

For lunches, the prices at the elementary schools will jump to $2.75, at the middle schools $3 and at the high schools $3.10

Lunch and breakfast prices will remain at 30 cents and 40 cents, respectively, for those who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Classes resume at Elkhart Community Schools on Thursday.

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