Due to COVID-19, the Lunch Program at the Pemberton Woods campus needed to evolve this year to continue to offer our students hot lunches. With health and safety precautions being taken, a modified optional lunch program is now available by pre-order to Senior and Middle school students.
Those who take part in the lunch program receive their lunch in individually pre-packaged containers to help minimize health risks. Additionally, Truffles Catering is the sole provider of the lunches this year as opposed to the past strategy of using multiple vendors.
You can log on once, order for the whole term until December break, and then know that on those days—up to five days a week if you want—you don’t have to think about lunch,” explained Ms. Myki Engelland, Lunch Program Coordinator.
To help make food distribution simpler and safer, there is only one hot lunch option available each day, but the menu follows a two-week rotation which helps provide some variety for students.
Where students would eat their lunch was an important decision as well this year as the Dining Hall can only be used by one Learning Group at a time. In the Middle School, one learning group eats in the Dining Hall in staggered seats, while the others will eat in their homeform classrooms. Student runners pick up labelled bins to bring back the hot lunches to their peers. These bins are also used to return empty packing back to the Dining Hall to be cycled or composted.
In the Senior School, two Learning Groups come through the Dining Hall at staggered times, while the other cohort picks up any pre-ordered lunches in the Denford Hall foyer. Student access will be rotated throughout the term to allow everyone a chance to use the Dining Hall.
“It’s a lot of moving parts,” added Ms. Engelland.
The lunch program has been able to adapt to keep it running, and it wouldn't be possible without the parent volunteers that come in every day to help. They come in with smiles on their faces underneath their masks as they help distribute lunches to students.
“The first question we had when planning for the lunch program was ‘do we have the volunteers?’” said Ms. Engelland. “Because it can’t run without the volunteers. I was afraid we would get people nervous about coming back in but we lost one volunteer and gained another.”
In previous years, there were five to seven volunteers in the kitchen each shift, but this year it’s been cut down to four. Mrs. Anne Denford is the Volunteer Coordinator for the lunch program, and has helped to create a successful schedule that works. She manages 63 parent volunteers for what is the biggest Parents’ Auxiliary Community fundraiser for the school.
“She finds the volunteers, creates the schedule and does a great job of it!,” said. Ms. Engelland. “We wouldn’t be able to make it work without them!”