Skyline students are using math and management skills to work as they take orders, plan, purchase and put together freezer meals for the community.
With busy schedules, its hard to find time to prepare nutritious, home cooked meals. The Skyline Entrepreneurship Class is providing those meals and learning valuable real life financial lessons on food preparation.
This is the second year the class has done this project and the students have thrown themselves into the work with enthusiasm, said Cheri Haskett, Skyline Family and Consumer Science teacher.
The class offers 10 meals that are completely assembled and frozen and ready for the crock pot or grill. When the person needs a meal, they just put it in a crock pot and when they return home, the meal will serve from four to six people.
The students decide what food they want to prepare and have to find the recipes, mostly for slow cookers but some easy grill as well. Each meal costs $10 and each family gets 10 meals that include chicken noodle soup, pulled pork, taco soup, barbecue chicken, cheesy chicken and rice, rosemary pork chops, ham, scalloped potatoes, lasagna, garlic chicken and Hawaiian chicken. Each meal comes with instructions and a recipe so they can be duplicated later.
When the class is ready to produce the meals, it puts information on Facebook, the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce E-Blast and by word of mouth. People can go on Google for a form to fill out. All meals have to be prepaid because the class uses the money to purchase the food, Haskett said.
All the money goes into a special account the Haskett uses to purchase food and storage bags.
When the meals are ready, the class sends out a text message or e-mail reminder to come in and get the food.
Once all the orders have come in, the class gets to work figuring out how much of each ingredient in the recipe is needed. They prepare a spread sheet to keep track of expenses. Then they head to Wichita to Sams to buy their food in bulk. It's one time when Haskett allows the students to use their cell phones so they can keep accurate track of their food costs. The class purchases in Wichita instead of Pratt because they can make their money stretch further by buying in bulk, Haskett said.
Before the students head out to by food, Haskett has them estimate how much they think they will spend and its always an eye opener when they find out the real cost of food including pork, chicken and beef.
"They don't realize the cost of food," Haskett said. "It's a good learning experience for them. They don't realize how far off their numbers are."
Students learn several valuable life skills in this program. They learn they can cook easy to prepare healthy meals in a crock pot. They learn they can save money by not eating out, they learn time management skills as well as get a reality dose of the cost of food.
Students learn quickly that they have to make choices to make a profit. They can prepare steak but it would cost them double the amount they charge so more practical choices have to be made.
Haskett puts left over funds in the program towards the purchase of a big refrigerator and a freezer to store the food and keep the meals ready for pickup.
After the students are finished buying the food, they get to have some time off as a reward for all their hard work. They take in a sports facility that has trampolines and volleyball then they go out for a meal and some ice cream.
This is the second year for the class. Last year the class made a profit of about $7,000 to $8,000 from preparing three meals with a class of 19 students. This year there are just five in the class and they are going to produce four meal deliveries, two in the fall and two in the spring. The class has already knocked out two meals and has eight more to go for this delivery period.
When its time to prepare meals, all the students and Haskett and a parent volunteer do an assembly line style system to get the meals ready. Even with everyone working, it takes quite a while to prepare the meals, Haskett said.
"They (students) will tell you it's a lot of work but they don't complain about it," Haskett said. "They get in there and wash their hands, get their aprons on and get to work."
Anyone interested in the program can contact Haskett at 388-6673 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is at https://goo.gl/forms/Y1tYztq7U1gZndXD2