As schools transition into summer meal programs, many of the procedures they’ve enacted during the pandemic will stay the same. The School Nutritional Association surveyed 1,894 school districts nationwide and during the last few months:
- 81% of school foodservice operators say they’ve distributed meals at curbside pickup sites
- 42% delivered meals directly to students’ homes
- 32% used bus routes as points of distribution
Of those meals:
- 65% percent of districts said they’ve been offering entrees and sides that need to be heated at home
- 36% offer hot meals
No matter if your district is preparing meals in central kitchens or at each site, hot and cold offerings need to be held at safe temperatures during transportation or distribution. Check out how these schools have been using their Cambro products to provide safe and delicious meals for their students:
- Oklahoma City Public Schools Provide Curbside Service with Flex Station
OKCPS distributes meals at 43 sites and as of May 1, they’d provided more than 734,000 meals to students. One of the things making their task a little easier is the use of their Cambro Flex Stations at some sites.
“We actually got a grant that bought a lot of [Flex Stations] for breakfast in the classroom,” said Shonia Hall, with School Nutrition Services at OKCPS. “They’ve really helped us to not have to run back and forth. It was great to have those available to us that we could just kind of grab off of that.”
Hall has seen the Flex Stations used in a variety of ways. Sometimes staff put it on the curb filled with meals in plastic bags and milk sitting on ice or another time Hall observed the Flex Station loaded with hot packs holding prepared, wrapped corn dogs. As families pulled up, staff would pack up a wrapped corn dog and distribute it safely.
Summer feeding has begun, and Hall expects to continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing for the last few months while trying to prepare for what lies ahead for the new school year.
“It’s going to be a different year. I expect that we will have a higher participation with summer feeding than we’ve ever had before. I’m excited to see what that looks like,” said Hall. “One thing I know for sure is Oklahoma Public Schools school nutrition will be prepared to feed kids in whatever way that is because we’re adapt, we change and we’re comfortable being uncomfortable and making things happen because it makes us grow. We’ll continue to feed our students in creative and innovative ways.”
Now through September 15, 2020, purchase select Flex Station models and you can receive two free cases of Food Pans or Food Boxes. Click here for official rules and redemption.
- Arlington School District Safely Route Meals with Cam GoBoxes
In order to safely deliver meals to meal distribution sites, Arlington School District purchased 50 Top Loading Cam GoBoxes. The district uses their GoBoxes to keep food at safe temperatures during delivery.
Made with high performance expanded polypropylene, GoBoxes protect meals while keeping them safely held at hot or cold temperatures for at least four hours. To make routing even easier, GoBoxes have the option of six different colored lids. GoBoxes are resistant to most oil, grease, and chemicals and can be cleaned with a cloth or run through a commercial dishwasher.
- Iowa City Schools Transport Meals with Pro Cart Ultra
Nutrition Services Director Alison Demory has at least 21 Pro Cart Ultra units that her district has depended on for safe food transport before and during the pandemic. Normally, Iowa City Schools work out of main kitchens that provide food to multiple schools. This model has proved efficient during the pandemic, allowing Demory’s team to cook breakfast and lunch at four main kitchens before sending completed meals to 12 additional locations.
“We like [the Pro Cart Ultra units] because they’re heavy-duty. We order the heavy-duty wheels because these aren’t rolling up and down a hospital hallway, they are rolling out of the kitchen onto the back of a truck, transported across town and then back. They get a lot of wear and tear; they go through lots of doorways and rattle around in the truck,” said Demory.
The Pro Cart Ultra is designed with a rust-proof and dent-resistant exterior for maximum durability. While the unit is guaranteed to keep food hot or cold for at least four hours, operators have the option of increasing their cold-holding time with the use of Camchillers.
“[The Pro Cart Ultra units] insulate our cold food…and they just work really well,” said Demory. “We like them very, very much. We have continued to order them.”
Demory’s units will continue to be a workhorse for the district over the summer as she plans to continue their curbside service.
“The USDA has extended all the waivers for the grab-n-go option throughout August. We’ll continue to bag that breakfast and lunch and hand that out at the curb because I don’t see, at least in the immediate future, where they’re going to have any kind of congregate setting,” said Demory.
It’s safe to assume that most schools will continue to depend on safe food transportation during the new school year. Whether you’re serving food hot or cold, on the curb or in the classroom, Cambro has a solution for your school foodservice program. Contact your Cambro rep to get started on your plan today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.