School Nutrition

Information about pandemic benefits for free and reduced students can be found at this link. It is not too late for families to apply for eligibility. Applications for the 2019-2020 will be accepted through June 3, 2020. Paper applications can be picked up / dropped off at the front door of the middle school (121 Hunt Street). Please note that a new 2020-2021 application will be required for next year.

Puede encontrar información sobre los beneficios de la pandemia para estudiantes gratuitos y de precio reducido en este enlace. No es demasiado tarde para que las familias soliciten la elegibilidad. Las solicitudes para el 2019-2020 serán aceptadas hasta el 3 de junio de 2020. Puede imprimir una solicitud o recoger / dejar una solicitud en papel en la puerta principal de la escuela secundaria (121 Hunt Street). Tenga en cuenta que se requerirá una nueva aplicación 2020-2021 para el próximo año..

Our School Food Evolution

Great students run on great food — and Central Park is redefining what great school food means!

Here at Central Park, we are committed to equity and justice for all, from our students here in Durham to people around the globe. In order to sustain our commitment to holistic learning, we are embarking on a journey of delicious discovery to support student growth and success through a new approach to school food.

Our Vision

A school meal program that feeds students’ minds and bodies. We continue to strive to:

  • Develop and sustain a model nutrition program supporting our school's mission of nurturing and developing the whole child.
  • Offer healthful lunches with delicious, fresh, local foods to help all of our students gain the benefits of excellent nutrition.
  • Bring together students and staff around food, while learning more about what healthy foods look and taste like.

We are proud of the success of the lunch program over the last few years. Our program has been nationally recognized for its innovation and focus on whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, and freshly prepared entrees, with minimal processed foods. We were sponsored by The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and presented at the 2017-18 National Conference for the School Nutrition Association, highlighting our large array of, and commitment to inclusion of, vegan offerings. Most importantly, the students enjoy the food! During the 2018-19 school year, we served over 31,000 lunches. That was our third year as a part of the National School Lunch program, and CPSC received close to $70,000 that year in reimbursement funds to help offset the cost to the school of providing student lunches.

We continue to benefit from a nutrition director with over 30 years of school food service, who oversees our programs and ensures that we maintain support for a triple bottom line: people (our students, staff, farmers, producers), planet (from Durham to the world), and budget (paying our chefs, catering staff, farmers, and producers equitably within the confines of USDA school meal reimbursement — yes, it can be done).

We’re again working with a local chef and caterer, Ashlyn Smith of Spicy Green Gourmet, utilizing delicious recipes that support student growth and protect the planet. Spicy Green is committed to 100% whole-grain rich foods, no artificial food dyes, and locally sourced foods when feasible. Spicy Green is excited to provide us with delicious daily meals, including tasty vegetarian, vegan and other hot lunch options.

We’re still supported by nutrition and research professionals to expand our commitment to good food at lunch and throughout the school day.

And we’re working with you, Central Park families, to make this happen. Thank you for your trust in serving your children! Questions? Contact our Nutrition Coordinator, Nadine Blake, at or 919-682-1200 x251.

Lunch Ordering

Lunches will need to be pre-ordered to help the caterer estimate volume, reduce food waste, and minimize cost to the school. Each meal offers one or two entree choices, several vegetable and fruit side dishes, and milk options.

Students will get to walk through and select from many choices on a beautiful serving line every day, and then return to their classrooms to enjoy their lunch.

Lunches cost $4.00. However, for those who qualify for free or reduced benefits, meals will be free or $0.40 for reduced-eligible. A small 3% processing fee will be added for credit card payments.

Ordering Details

  • Quarterly menus will be available for viewing 1-2 weeks before the beginning of the quarter.
  • You can order lunches for just the days you want them.
  • You may cancel an order up until 7:30 AM the day of the delivery. You will receive a system credit for any meals canceled.
  • Lunch orders must be placed by Friday noon of the week prior to the desired lunch day (by Friday for lunches the following week

Ordering Lunch ONLINE

Note there is a new site for ordering lunches this year. School lunches must be pre-ordered through Access is even available through a smartphone. These instructions (English, Spanish) will help you set up accounts, login, place, and cancel orders. Returning families must update your student's school/grade/teacher before ordering. To do so, click on the Modify link next to your student’s name. Select the correct school, and the correct grade/teacher combination.

Ordering Lunch OFFLINE

If you prefer not to order online, but would still like to pre-order a school lunch, please stop by either Front Desk, send an email to, or call 919-682-1200 x251.


  • Payments by credit card: can be made on the website for future orders, a small 3% transaction fee will be added for credit card payments
  • Payments by cash or check: please bring your payment by the front office at least three days ahead of your lunch needs to allow time for your account to be credited
  • Payments for any lunches eaten without an order should be made by cash or check at the front desk on the day of service. Any follow-up needed on payments will follow this policy.

*Allergy Notice

The caterer does not have a nut-free facility, however no nuts are in the food items offered. Pork is not used in our menu offering. Pasta and breads are not available gluten-free at this time. Many menus are inherently gluten-free, however items made with gluten-free ingredients does not guarantee all traces of gluten are eliminated.

Free & Reduced Lunch

Central Park is again part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) this year. All families who believe they are eligible for free or reduced lunch benefits are encouraged to read the parent letter and complete the 2019-20 free and reduced application (English, Spanish). Paper applications can also be picked up at either school office. FAQs, income charts, and instructions are available as part of the parent letter. Additionally there is an optional portion of the form which allows you to indicate if you would like your approved status shared with other programs in order to receive additional benefits beyond free or reduced lunch prices (e.g. before school/after school discounts, food pantry assistance).

Milk Ordering

Milk can be purchased separate from lunches. The price per day is $0.40 and students may again choose from 1% unflavored white milk or fat-free chocolate. A vanilla soy alternative can be provided once a milk substitution form is submitted (English, Spanish). This year’s milk program will again be managed with pre-orders since we do not have an automated cashiering system or a simple way for handling occasional milk purchases. With the per-day cost of $0.40 and 174 school days with lunch service, the total cost for the year is $0.40 x 174 days = $69.60. If needed, payments can be made semi-annually ($34.60) or quarterly ($17.30).

See the online ordering form or the paper ordering form (English, Spanish) for more information and to get signed up.

Questions, comments, concerns? Email or call 919-682-1200 x251.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

This page (School Nutrition) last updated May 13, 2020