One Million Meals During COVID

A significant milestone was reached this week for the nutrition service of Laurens County School District 55. As of Tuesday, November 17th, District 55 Student Nutrition Services (SNS) has served over one million meals since schools were closed by COVID-19 in March. The official number after lunch on Tuesday was 1,006,787 meals served in the past 182 days. Student Nutrition Services Director Wanda Knight stated, “We have been intent on continuing to meet the nutritional needs of every child age 18 and under since the pandemic began. We see this milestone as a tribute to the hardworking SNS staff in LCSD 55.”

During a normal school year, including the summer meal program, District 55 serves approximately 1.5 million meals over a 12-month period. Therefore, despite school closures, students attending virtual schools, and hybrid schedules, the SNS staff has managed to continue feeding the children of Laurens County.

Knight reported, “We are currently serving approximately 8,000 meals daily to our face-to-face students, Laurens County Virtual Academy students, and any other child in the community that needs a meal.” The SNS staff operates on all nine District 55 campuses with 75 employees logging a combined 390 total work hours each day. The food program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which reimburses the district a set amount for each meal served. In serving these one million meals, SNS purchased approximately $800,000 in food products.

While much of the nation was at home of lockdown earlier this year, Student Nutrition Services staff was making sure meals were available to children every week. Mrs. Knight noted, “We continue to follow safety protocols with installation of Plexiglas on the serving line, SNS staff wearing facemasks, and social distancing as a matter of routine.” Wanda Knight added, “Temperatures are taken each morning for all employees upon arrival. Food is prepared following DHEC regulations and all precautions are taken to ensure the safest food and cafeteria environment possible.”

District 55 Superintendent Ameca Thomas said, “There are many unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In LCSD 55, we celebrate the hard work and achievements of our Student Nutrition Services staff. We know that too many of our children depend on the meals they get from school each day. Being able to continue this service throughout the pandemic has been essential to our community.”