OCPS Food Services boasts record-breaking year of meal preps

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange County School district is breaking records this year, providing hundreds of thousands of meals for students every day.


Carlos Aviles oversees the 35-person crew at Edgewater High School, making food for their own students, as well as other kids around the district.

It’s one of four central kitchens operated by Orange County Public Schools.

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“We are going to be close to 40 to 50 million meals this year,” Senior Director of Food and Nutrition Services Mark Watson said.

That would be a record for OCPS.

This year, the district is taking advantage of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision program, or CEP. The program allows eligible schools to offer meals to all enrolled students, as long as the district meets the socio-economic requirements.

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“We’re making about 212,000 meals a day,” Watson said.

At Edgewater High School, the students can find out exactly what they’ll have to eat up to two weeks in advance through the Meal Viewer application. All they have to do is download the app and search for their school to see what’s for breakfast, lunch, snack time and even supper.

“This year, so far, we are at about 32-million meals that we have served” Watson said.

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That’s more than it prepared all last year, and those meals are absolutely free to students.

OCPS estimates it costs more than $150-million annually to provide all those food options, but that money will be reimbursed by the USDA, meaning the district can use those funds again to continue to provide meals for the next four years at no cost to students.

“I knew it was going to be successful,” Watson said. “Just not as successful as it was.”

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.