Serving Love to the Community – LHS Food Service Workers

Jahnavi Bolleddula and Avni Rathi

The food service workers at Lexington High School play a critical role in the school community. Not only do the cafeteria workers prepare menus and meals, but they also ensure that students and staff get adequate nutrients for a productive day of learning. 

The food service workers spend most of their time at school prepping breakfast and lunch, planning menus for days ahead, and surveying students and staff once they have received their meals.

“No two days are the same. The food that we make is different every day. So how the operations run look different. It’s always interesting to see what happens and figuring out different solutions to problems that may arise throughout the day,” Hannah Yoo, the registered dietician and assistant manager of the Food Service Department, said.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of meals distributed has steadily increased as breakfast and lunch have become free. 

“Before COVID, they were saying that we would average about 900 meals at the high school a day just for lunch, but now we’re almost consistently above 1400 meals. So it’s a good amount of increase,” Yoo said.

Additionally, supply chain issues have been a constant challenge for the food service department in the past few years, which significantly impacts the cafeteria’s meal plans. Staff must be creative to address student needs while coping with challenges.

“We have a big supply chain issue. Sometimes, your favorite chicken tenders might not be available because our supplier ran out of them and can’t make them. So we have to figure out what to replace them with, what allergies may come up from different products, and the cost,” Yoo said.

Yoo expresses her delight in seeing students enjoy a nutritious meal during the school day and acknowledges the importance of school-provided meals.

“It’s great that the kids are eating here and that they’re eating and enjoying the food. So many students get second lunches, and having a full stomach helps focus during school, like you’re not worrying about what you’re going to eat when you’re going to eat next and instead of worrying about food, you can just worry about your classes, your friends, your extracurriculars,” Yoo said.

Yoo also notes that the LHS community should support food service staff by being respectful and kind to the workers as they distribute meals to students and staff.

“If everybody can show our workers a little more grace and patience, because we are dealing with 1400 students and trying to get you guys all fed. And you know, it’s not fair to some of our employees, when students give them an attitude or a hard time about their food. So if everybody could be kind to everybody, I think that would be good,” Yoo said.