Spotlight on Food Service
Did you know NRW’s food service department has distributed nearly 200,000 breakfasts and lunches to students since March 16? Our food service employees - with the help of staff across NRW - have been working hard to ensure our students receive nutritious meals, whether they’re learning at school or at home.
Food service workers have put in countless hours since schools closed in March to make meals for students, first using a drive-through pickup model and then partnering with the transportation department to deliver meals to students’ homes. Most food service employees worked through the summer months to continue feeding students, and once the new school year began in September, they began preparing grab-and-go and in-classroom meal options for hybrid students while continuing weekly meal deliveries for virtual students. (Hybrid students take home meals for the days they do not attend school in person.)
“None of us were prepared for this, so we’ve been learning and tweaking it as we go,” said Donna Riviello, the district’s director of food service.
On Wednesday mornings, about 20 food service staff members fill the high school cafeteria to prepare and pack over 1,000 meals for the weekly delivery. They start at 5:30 a.m. and continue until meals are ready to be loaded onto buses, which deliver the meals along their routes.
Other district staff are part of this effort as well. Maintenance staff help load meals onto buses, while transportation employees make the deliveries. Community Schools Administrator Bridgette Barr updates the large database that tracks student meal distribution, and aides, administrators and school resource officers have pitched in to help pack meals.
“It’s been great to get all the support we’ve gotten,” Riviello said. “We couldn’t do this without it.”