The Thayer Central High School gym was alive with anticipation as students, parents and donors gathered for the Titan Beef Boosters Kick-Off last Wednesday afternoon.
“Students, this is a gift for you. Please take advantage of this,” said Rob Marsh, event organizer, during his program overview speech. “Try to eat school lunches every day and clean up your plate … My goal is for you to know where your food comes from and I think Titan Beef Boosters is a good start.”
The Titan Beef Boosters program is an opportunity for local farmers and cattlemen to provide locally grown beef for the 425 Thayer Central students in grades PreK-12.
By doing so, the lunch program will increase its offering of beef by 50 percent, going from two times every ten days to three times every ten days.
The program will allow for the school to save money to purchase more locally raised, fresh produce and update kitchen equipment for more from scratch-cooking.
Marsh first presented the opportunity to the Thayer Central school board in March where it was received with much enthusiasm. He had already accumulated a large amount of community support and researched other schools who already implemented the program with their local farmers.
Titan Beef Boosters has since grown to support itself for three years. As of August 25, over $33,000 had been raised and 32 beef animals had been donated to the program.
“Look around at the community around you,” said Greg Ibach, the Nebraska Director of Agriculture, during his address. “I think this can only be summarized as an act of love … Study hard, behave well, get a degree, then come back and support this community.”
Other speakers included Dr. Matt Blomstedt, Nebraska Commissioner of Education, Sharon Davis, NDE Director of Nutrition Services, Mitch Rippe, Nebraska Beef Council President, Dave McCracken, of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association and Senator David Schnoor, of the Senate Education Committee.
Special guests included Senator Laura Ebke, Dawn Caldwell, of the Nebraska Beef Council, Donna Handley, of NDE School Nutrition, David Von Behren, of USDA Food and Nutrition and many others.
“This is a great demonstration of how much your community cares for you,” said Drew Harris, Thayer Central Public Schools superintendent, in his closing remarks.
Afterward, donors and parents were invited to join students in the cafeteria to enjoy the very first, locally grown hamburgers served at Thayer Central.