With Students Back in Class, Minnesota School District Safely Serves Meals

Joe Happe, Supervisor of Nutritional Services at St. Cloud Area School District 742, panicked a little when he learned they would be serving meals in the classroom as elementary students returned to in-person learning. His next move was to call his Cambro rep, Laurance Anderson. After hearing Happe’s needs and concerns, Anderson suggested Cambro’s Meal Delivery Trays. Happe took Anderson’s suggestion and has been extremely satisfied with his decision.

“The reason [the trays] work so well is there is a big area for the main entrée, there’s a place for the fruit and for the vegetable and silverware holders. The only thing that’s not included in that box is the milk or beverage choice,” said Happe.

One of Happe’s concerns was social distancing while employees transported food through the hallways. With the Meal Delivery Trays, he’s able to stack them on a cart and employees deliver them to each classroom while the students enjoy recess. Not only is the process quick, the Meal Delivery Trays keep the food at temperature until students return to their seats.

“From the time we start packaging these meals in these Cambros to the time it’s on the kid’s desk ready to go is 10 minutes or less. It’s working really well because with the isolated sections the hot piece stay hot and the cold fruit stays cold,” said Happe.

Happe’s second concern was the potential for food and trash being left inside classrooms after meals were consumed. Designed with a snap-on cover that fits securely, Meal Delivery Trays were able to eliminate that problem.

“These trays allowed us to keep all of the leftover food in there. Any garbage that the kid has goes back in the box, puts the cover on, we pick up the boxes, bring them back to the kitchen and in the dish room we open the boxes and empty all the food,” said Happe.

Happe isn’t the only one who is happy with their new trays.

“Out of the eight elementary schools, I’ve already been approached by three of the principals saying they want to continue this next year. The teachers like it, there’s not the havoc that happens in the lunchroom,” said Happe. “Overall, the process has been a lot easier for the staff.”

After implementing the Meal Delivery Trays, Happe realized their current drying methods weren’t allowing them to dry completely. He started using Camshelving® Premium Series Angled Drying and Storage Racks, which promote air circulation for faster and thorough drying.

“We put the tray in at a slight angle, we put the lid behind it and it holds it at a good angle so that the air is getting through there; they’re drying about 50 percent faster with these drying carts,” said Happe. “It’s nice because we have enough time between breakfast and lunch; we can wash them and have them dry by the time we start lunch. It’s only a couple hours in between them but we can get everything done and everything stacked up and dried and ready to go.”

If you’ve encountered a foodservice problem that you’re unable to solve, our reps are always ready to find a Cambro solution. Contact your local Cambro rep today to get started.


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