Food Staff Provide Comfort Amidst Chaotic Year

Olivia Moody, JP student writer

Among the many changes this year, the food service staff is striving to give students regularity when it comes to their meals at school.

Some changes include dividers for lunch tables and required masks for food servers. Other than that, the food service’s goal is to keep treating the students the same and feeding them to the best of their ability. 

Jeff Reeves, the Food Service Director for North Polk, said, “It has been our desire in the food service department to provide some sense of normalcy for the students as they came back to school this fall.”

Although some things have changed, the process of making food for students and staff is like any other year. 

Reeves starts his day in the high school, where all the food for the district is made, at 5 a.m. “That is when the baking takes place. After the rest of the staff come in, we all work together to get the job done each day.”

Jasmin Melara, a staff member in charge of making all the salads for the school district, starts her day at 7:30 a.m. She gets a washcloth and a bucket of sanitizer to wipe down her prepping area. Once Melara has all of her salads made, she distributes them where they need to go. After her tasks are done she helps wherever the rest of the staff needs her. This could be the dish room, getting the doors opened for lunch or distributing the food in the right places. After all three lunches and the cleaning is done, she gets to go home.

Food allergies are something that the food staff also has to deal with. While in elementary school, students meet the food staff to lessen the stress of school lunches. This also helps the staff gain familiarity with the student. In middle school, students with allergies have to keep a consistent side of the lunch line to get food and also let the server know of any allergies to get their correct food.

Reeves responds to high school students who have allergies saying,By the time a student reaches hHigh sSchool they should know what they can and can’t have.”

Students who are vegetarians or prefer a healthier meal were excited to have the option of salads this year. Although the staff tries to add new foods every year, sometimes they have to change brands because of availability. 

When asked about the potatoes this year Reeves said, “The brand that we had last year is no longer available.  Sometimes it takes a while to find the right product to replace it with.”

Food for thought- During an unexpected year, school meals remain consistent. The food service tried to ease student’s stress this year by striving to keep lunch as normal as possible.

Melara would also like the students to know that “The food service really does try their best to keep students happy and full! Also, I would like to thank the students for being so respectful!