George Junior Republic has received a state grant that help improve food services.
“This will be a little bit of an upgrade,” said Jarrod Gault, director of food services.
George Junior has received a $51,209 grant for a new oven from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
PDE recently announced that more than $925,000 in competitive grants have been awarded to 72 elementary, middle and high schools across the state for new food service equipment.
“Students perform better in school when they have access to regular, nutritious meals,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said in a news release.
The grants are channeled through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the funding is going to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and have 50 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
George Junior serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to roughly 350 students, who live on campus; about 200 staff members are also fed, Gault said.
George Junior Republic has a facility in Pine Township that provides private residential treatment for court adjudicated, dependent, and delinquent at-risk male youth.
They are buying a new Baxter-brand oven that will be similar to the current oven. It will be installed in George Junior’s central kitchen, which was built in 2019.
All of the meals are prepared in that kitchen; they used to be cooked in the cottages where the students live. Now, the meals are delivered to the cottages, where the students eat family-style, he said.
The oven, which is about 6 feet high, will be installed by early summer, and it is a roll-in rack model designed for large quantities of food.
“It’s actually a pretty amazing piece of equipment,” Gault said.
Up to 24 trays can fit into the oven at one time, which will help streamline meal preparation.
The racks spin, resulting in an even distribution of heat.