The System Behind Grab-and-Go Lunches

Heidi Schoenberg, JP Student Writer

Grab-and-Go Lunches started in May when the pandemic first really hit the community but came back when North Polk Schools transitioned back online this past week. Grab-and-Go Lunches is a meal plan that the school created where families can sign up for a certain number of meals and then come pick it up at the closest location to them during school lunch times.

For parents, this was an entirely different way to make sure their students have a nutritious meal, thankfully North Polk made the entire process simple and quick. 

“It was so easy to sign up that I had my ten-year-old daughter do it,” said Erika Varnai, a parent of four children in the district, “The next day, we went to pick up the lunches and they had four ready for us right away.”

North Polk Lunch staff worked hard to make the experience of lunch just the same as last year.

“It has been my goal throughout all of the pandemic to keep meals as close to normal as possible,” said Jeff Reeves, the head lunch staff at North Polk, “Some of the items that may have been done differently would have been more chips in place of french fries, tater tots, etc.”

Along with trying to make sure the lunches are the same the staff has experienced various challenges with planning this year. 

“A large issue was not knowing if the district would be face to face, hybrid or virtual in time for ordering of products which caused us to have overstock of product,” stated Reeves, “The biggest challenge was preparing for the elementary to be hybrid while the middle school and high school was either virtual or face to face, all while providing grab and go meals at the same time.” 

During the week of November 30th to December 4th, the school served, on average 220 Grab-and-Go meals to families, making this a very successful week.