As of Nov. 17, Laurens County School District 55 (LCSD 55) Student Nutrition Services (SNS) has served more than 1 million meals since the school closure caused by COVID-19.
The official number after lunch on Tuesday was 1,006,787 meals served in the past 182 days. SNS Director Wanda Knight said, “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), LCSD 55 serves nearly 1.5 million meals over a 12-month period (365 days). 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 LCSD 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 about $800,000 in food products.
This feat is even more amazing because, while much of the nation huddled in their homes in the early days of the pandemic, the SNS staff was making sure meals were available to children every week.
“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,” Knight said. “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.”
“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,” Superintendent Ameca Thomas said. “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.”