FARMINGTON – Even though not all students are in school on any given day that doesn’t mean they aren’t getting meals in one form or another.
With the school year starting in hybrid mode and only half the students coming to school everyday it became tricky to figure out how to serve meals to the rest of the students.
Director of Food Services Andrew Hutchins first tried to have parents or guardians pick meals up at the school, but with the limitations of the work day, turnout wasn’t as big as he had hoped for.
“Parents or guardians could come to the school and pick up a meal for the day, a breakfast and a lunch. Because our staff is still feeding students who are in school breakfast and lunch we had a one hour pick up window where parents could pick up meals at the kitchen door…some parents are working or are at home helping kids so it was difficult for a lot of families to hit that window,” said Hutchins.
The lack of meals getting out called for an alternative, so Hutchins and Food Services started planning a meal delivery system, which went live on Feb. 1 and was an immediate success.
“It exploded right off the bat. Within a couple of days we were pretty much at the capacity to make those meals, which is about 125 meals a day,” said Hutchins.
Food Services uses a van and station wagon to deliver the meals making on average 60-65 stops a day. The geography of the district makes it a little tricky to reach all the locations, so some students are bringing extra meals home with them
“That’s helping us out a lot especially for the folks who are way out,” Hutchins said.
Food Services is also not limited to just students who are enrolled. Any child age 0-18 is eligible for a meal, even if they are home schooled or not yet enrolled in school. The cost of serving meals is directly reimbursed by the USDA and as of right now has no impact on the RSU 9 budget.
“We’re reimbursed a set amount for every meal that we serve. We’re not reimbursed on our cost necessarily, but we are reimbursed a flat rate per breakfast and per lunch through the USDA,” said Hutchins. “The only capacity we have is the amount of meals we are able to produce and serve.”