Volume IX, Issue 6 - March 2014

Make Their Day: A Newsletter for Employees and Friends of Opaa! Food Management










Roasted Butternut Squash

By: Chef Rick Turner


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Peel squash, clean out seeds and dice
  3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to evenly coat
  4. Spread out on sheet pan in sparse, single layer
  5. Roast for approximately 30-40 minutes until tender.


  • 1 ea Butternut Squash (medium diced)
  • 1 clv Garlic (minced)
  • ½ ea Yellow Onion (medium diced)
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Thyme
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ¼ tsp Basil
  • 3 T Olive Oil





Opaa!'s 1st Annual Gingerbread House Competition a Huge Success!

By Chef Rick Turner

16 Districts competed in our 1st Annual Opaa! Grand National Gingerbread House Championship! It was a “sweet” competition, as everyone who participated seemed to have a lot of fun. So much creativity, hard work and detail went into so many of the entries.  But, in the end, our judges faced a very difficult decision, as photos of the wonderful, artistic confections were submitted by Opaa! staff and students from all over Missouri and Kansas! Drum roll please…………..

1st Place Gingerbread House

First Place: Holden, Missouri—Submitted by Tabitha Woodworth, Misty Parker, Christy Slack, Christie Mounce, Carla Harms. Named “Santa’s Workshop”, this creation featured full detail inside and out including Santa’s helpers holding mugs of hot chocolate made from peppermint!

2nd Place Gingerbread House

Second Place:  North Platte, Missouri –Submitted by Sondra Stubbs, Delba McAuley, Heather Meadows, Dawn Hord, and Nicole Kidwell. This display was a replica of New Bedford Falls from the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and included edible street lamps!

3rd Place Gingerbread House

Third Place: Oak Grove, Missouri—Submitted by Judy Romanchuk, Jan Hernandez, Carrie Hernandez, Mandy Kemple, Terry Cunningham, Sherry Fricke, Jennifer Mausbach, and Jean Semine. A four foot long, two foot high gingerbread house that was stolen by the Elf on the shelf. As reported by Kansas City television news, police were brought in to investigate!

Directors Connie Fuwell (Puxico) and Kim Wilson (McDonald County) got students involved in the design and building of their entries.

In Community, Director Alisia Sebers opened up the contest to the entire school! Kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 8th, Drama Club and HS Nutrition class competed for the chance to represent their district. Students and staff voted. And Kindergarten won!

The top three finishers will all receive trophies, as well as maintain bragging rights for one year (until the 2nd Annual OPAA! Grand National Gingerbread House Championship!). Congratulations to everyone who participated! Hope to see your Gingerbread House next year!

Please go to our Facebook page to see more pictures!




Picture of KevinTeam,

Welcome back to school!  After a lot of missed days in December and early January, let’s hope that Mother Nature cooperates and we can get back to feeding students tasty, healthy meals every day.  After all, feeding children is the reason for Opaa!’s being.

As you know, Opaa! is geographically diverse.  We operate child nutrition programs throughout Missouri and Kansas.  Here are some interesting numbers, related to the 1st Semester:

12,500,000 – meals served
160,000 – students enrolled at Opaa!-served school districts
100,000 – geographic spread of Opaa!, in square miles
2,500 – Opaa! team members
121 – Opaa! school districts
17 – new school districts opened

You may ask, “So how do I fit in to all of this?”  Each and every team member can make a positive contribution to Opaa!’s overall success.  Let’s look at another interesting number.  The number ONE!
1 – each student eating breakfast or lunch with Opaa! is a healthier child
1 – each Opaa! team member can make a difference in a student’s life…every day

It takes each team member touching the lives of students at every school building, every day, that allows Opaa! to be one step closer to our vision of being an indispensable partner to every school that we serve .





For Your Health……

At least one way to slow aging and reduce disability at any age is to exercise at least three times a week.  You’ll get a stronger body and better brain.  I hear the groans already, but consider the facts.  Exercise improves the quality of your life in so many ways: It reduces the inflammation that’s associated with aging; boosts brain function, especially memory performance; and makes muscles healthier, no matter what your age. What you choose to do — biking, swimming, jogging, walking, Zumba — is not as important as how often you do it. Aim to exercise at least three times a week — at a level that is challenging without being exhausting — for a total of 150 minutes a week (said differently 2 ½ hours per week). If walking is your favorite form of exercise, strap on a pedometer and try for 10,000 steps a day. This level of activity will improve both physical health and cognitive function. As your fitness level increases, you can gradually make your activities more challenging. The more vigorous your activities, and the more time you spend doing them, the more benefits you’ll enjoy. As always check in with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Source: Cleveland Clinic Wellness, February 2, 2014




Little Schoolhouses


Opaa! Food Management, Inc, is proud to announce  the newest members to our management team:  Jack Zupan—RDO for the Norhwest Kansas City Region, Chris Dressel—DNS for Riverside USD 114, Samantha Carden—DNS for the East Prairie R-2 School District, and Tina Hale—DNS for the Advance R-IV School District




GHS of Hazard Communication Implemented in US/World

By Scott Meyer

Global Harmonization System (GHS) for hazard classification and labeling has become the worldwide standard for hazard communication. Long overdue for consistency, GHS will ensure that humans and our environment will benefit, by providing standardization and uniformity as well as reduce the need for testing and evaluation.

So, what does that mean for the kitchens we work in, and the chemicals we use every day? In short, it will better define the classification of health/environmental hazards, as well as physical hazards and mixtures. In addition, product labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) will be standardized. New ‘signal words’ such as ‘Danger’ or ‘Warning’ will be used to emphasize hazard and discriminate between levels of hazards. New, distinct pictograms, such as the one shown above, will be the updated standard for hazard communication.

The role of the Safety Data Sheet, (formally known as Material Safety Data Sheets) will provide comprehensive information about a chemical substance or mixture. The format on the SDS will include16 standardized headings, including:

  • Hazard Identification<![if !vml]>Hazards<![endif]>
  • Ingredient Composition
  • First Aid and Fire Fighting Measures
  • Exposure / Protection (PPE) Control
  • Handling & Storage
  • Toxicology Information
  • Disposal Considerations
  • Etc.

In summary, GHS will resolve the vast variations in classification and labeling of chemicals. This, in turn, will translate into a better understanding of the chemical products we use in our kitchens every day. And, in the long run, provide a safer work environment for all.

Oak Grove School District Gingerbread House Stolen... for a Good Cause

By Jennifer Mausbach

Gingerbread HouseOak Grove School District had a young lady Bailey Bennett who attended the Primary building. She was in the second grade and was battling cancer for the third time in her short life. Bailey was an amazing young lady who touched the hearts of everyone in our town. Bailey was a fighter and continued to battle this strong cancer until the very end.  While she was with us, her friend Peppermint the Elf, had been doing naughty tricks to make Bailey smile and keep her spirits up.

Peppermint first went to the City Hall and took the Mayors Christmas tree and put the tree in Bailey's front yard so she could see the beautiful Christmas lights every time she looked outside her window. The police came and put up crime tape and the local news came out to investigate what happened. Local law enforcement officials said the Mayor did not want to press charges against Peppermint the Elf because Bailey was so happy about the tree.

The Opaa! High School kitchen ladies were excited to build a gingerbread house for the first annual OPAA! Gingerbread contest. We got Jean Samyn, an awesome art teacher, involved and she built a template for a giant school house. The high school staff started making the ginger bread right away and worked weeks on this school house making it amazing. The day came to judge the gingerbread house and when we came in the commons area and the house was gone!

We called local police and Bob Marshall our DARE officer came out and filed a report. He put up crime tape and took reports from students who last saw the gingerbread house. There were tiny footprints all around the crime scene. That night we got a call from Tina Butler who is the grandmother of Bailey Bennett and she informed us the Gingerbread house was in her kitchen.

Peppermint had struck again at OGHS and took our gingerbread house. Bailey was so excited that she didn't want Tina to move it out of the kitchen but it took up the entire kitchen table. Bailey enjoyed the house during the Holidays as well as some of the marshmallow candy. We also decided not to press charges, so Peppermint is still at large.

The Opaa! Staff and I would like to thank all those who helped make Bailey's day!!! Bailey lost her battle with cancer on January 24, 2014. We hope Peppermint the Elf and everyone else involved made her last Christmas a special one for Bailey and her family.


Focaccia Bread a Big Hit at Lafayette Co. C-I

By Paula Oelrichs

As we get into the school year and try introducing new items to the students and staff by sampling and incorporating them into the menus as entrée items, side items, juices, and breakfast entrees, you just never know what kind of reaction is going to come from our customers.

Lafayette Co. Logo must admit that the
Lafayette Co. Logosight of Focaccia bread on the menu was an odd one for the kitchen staff and myself at Lafayette County C-I School District in Higginsville.  Some of us had tasted it before, some not and some weren’t sure how to pronounce it!  After a batch was made and the aroma filled our kitchens-we all liked it.  Now it was time to serve it to the kids…What would they say? What would they think? Most importantly - What would they NOT say?  WHERE’S THE HOT ROLL???!!!!  The OPAA! hot roll has become a Wednesday staple over the years, accompanying the School World Famous “Chicken Patty”  Would they like a change?  Well, for the elementary students they prefer the hot roll.  As for the middle/high school students they liked it.  And as for the teachers, it was a hit!  Most of the comments overall were favorable, most saying they liked the flavors in the focaccia bread.  The herbs and spices used in the recipe were just right! And brushed with olive oil and topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, what’s not to like?

We look forward to serving it again on Wednesday’s to add a little spice to our lunch menu.


Wellsville Middletown R-1 Salad Bar a Success

By Alisia Sebers

The Wellsville-Middletown R-6 School District has recently implemented the salad bar option for the lunch service.  This was a very exciting opportunity for the school district and the student because they received the salad bar from an organization called “Salad Bars 2 Schools”.   The school district completed an application for a grant process and was awarded the salad bar free of charge!
The students and staff were extremely excited to see the arrival of the salad bar as well as all of the wonderful salad toppings that Opaa! had to offer.  They were also very impressed with the change in variety that Opaa! was able to offer on daily basis.

When Opaa! joined the Wellsville-Middletown school district, one of the things that the on-line staff was excited about was being able to offer their student’s more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Salad ToppingsThe Opaa! menus do a great job of providing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, but the addition of the salad bar has been even more exciting.
With the support of the on-line staff, the Wellsville-Middletown  R-6 school district and the district staff, we have all worked together as a team to “Make their day”.


Baxter Springs Home Town Hero

By Marilyn Gilmore

Every year the Baxter Springs High School students choose someone that has made a difference in the community—a Home Town Hero. This event took months of planning and this year required keeping a BIG secret.   On November 22, 2013, Baxter Springs High School students, staff and the Opaa! cooks joined together to honor one of their best!  This is a huge honor for the recipient, and the students couldn’t wait to announce the next Home Town Hero.  Because the students were so excited, it was even harder to keep the winner’s name a secret this year.

The students chose Mr. Dennis Burke, Baxter Springs Superintendant of Schools.  It was quite the feat to organize the celebration while keeping Mr. Burke in the dark.  The culinary class worked with the Opaa! cooks to prepare hors d'oeuvres and serve the Thanksgiving feast.  While the rest of the High School students had varies jobs like decorating the tables and general setup, the choir and jazz band entertained during the dinner.  The Thanksgiving feast included roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, dressing, personal side salad, green beans and homemade hot rolls.  Each attendee also enjoyed  a personal pumpkin bread desert with whip cream on top.  This was a joyous day of fun and fellowship with the community within the Baxter Springs High School.  Please look for these High School students that now have refined their skills in decorating a place setting, prepping and serving for 300 people, hospitality and general food service. 

A special thank you to Mr. Burke for influencing so many lives within the Baxter Springs School District.


3-Peat State Football Champions at Lamar

By Peg Jeffries

In 2012, the Lamar R-I School District Head Football Coach Scott Bailey implemented a program so the football players could honor the people who had a strong influence in their lives.  In the first year of the program, Pam Ryder, Kitchen Manager at the Lamar High School was nominated by Josh Baird, one of the senior captains of the football team.  Again, in 2013, Pam was nominated by senior captain Jimmy Keutzer as an influential part of his life.  This is an outstanding honor to receive at Lamar.  At homecoming, as part of the recognition in both 2012 and 2013, Pam was escorted by the players who nominated her along with the head coach to the 50-yard line of the football field where they presented her with a carnation as she was introduced to the fans.  Pam commented that this is an extra special recognition for her since she was nominated by the students. 

Excited by Pam’s multiple nominations, the Opaa! staff were honored when the football team asked them to make sack lunches for them to take to one of their playoff games.  Pam and her crew love to be asked to do extra for any of the organizations and students on campus.  The Opaa! kitchen employees are true ‘team’ players.   


JA Bowl-A-Thon Invitation


Newtrition Newsletter

By Sheila Frost

The HealthierUS School Challenge was established by USDA to recognize schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition, physical activity and nutrition education.

Click Here to View the Article


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Suite 310

Chesterfield, MO 63005

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