Missouri first lady visits area schools to recognize Beef Month

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Beef: It's what's for lunch in local school cafeterias.

In recognition of May as Beef Month in the state, Missouri first lady Lori Hauser Holden visited Cape Girardeau and Jackson schools Wednesday to promote the use of beef in school lunches.

At Blanchard Elementary, a twittering group of students, selected as a welcome committee, eagerly awaited the arrival of their esteemed guest.

"It's like meeting the president," said fourth-grader Michael Kirn. "Not many people get to do this."

The welcome committee gave Holden a tour of their school, including a stop in the cafeteria where students were eating an appropriate lunch of cheesy beef macaroni.

Blanchard pupils had been well-primed in the reason for Holden's visit, and some had taken the time to brush up on their beef history.

"She's here because of beef," said fourth-grader Wesley Smith. "And we should be proud we have it because back in the day it was scarce. Like in the Depression."

Holden made stops at Central High School, Immaculate Conception School and Jackson Middle School as well. The schools were chosen because their beef is supplied locally by Fruitland Dressed Meat in Jackson.

This is the 15th year May has been designated as Beef Month in Missouri. The state ranks No. 2 -- behind Texas -- in the nation in number of beef cows and number of farms.

"We're here to build awareness for using Missouri beef in school lunches and to congratulate the Cape Girardeau and Jackson school districts for their creative effort to offer Missouri beef to students," Holden said. "It's a win-win for all of us when we use products from our state."

cclark@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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