Before 72 men and women from the El Monte City School District Nutrition Services team went home for their Thanksgiving Break, District administrators and representatives from Gold Star Foods showed their appreciation for all the passionate work the team has done to feed the community.
Since the start of the pandemic, El Monte City School District has served over 2.5 million meals to kids in the community, and recently the demand has increased. Last week, the District launched a Thanksgiving-themed meal box that sold out within the first hour of distribution at each school from Monday through Thursday. “We are projected to sell close to 3700 boxes this week which amounts to 78,000 meals,” said the Director of Nutrition Services, Jenny Lee, Friday afternoon. In fact, the last time the district did anything close to those numbers was back in September when they announced they would be feeding all children 18 and under in the community.
The Nutrition Services staff has been working extremely hard to make sure children are getting quality food on a weekly basis. Days start as early as four o’clock in the morning with shifts of amazing women preparing, cooking, and organizing meals to go into fully-packed meal boxes. Because of this amazing work, Director Lee and other leaders within the district wanted to make sure her team left for vacation on a high note.
“When we talk about the number of families we’re able to reach through our meal programs, it boils down the fact that we have 72 ladies and gentlemen who put their whole heart into preparing meals and getting it to families. They’re part of this community, they recognize the need, and without them none of this would be accomplished, so we wanted to show them a little appreciation.”
The staff was gifted an assortment of things including new aprons depicting a unique spin on the iconic ‘Rosie the Riveter” poster. On the aprons, Rose is flexing with a tattoo on her right bicep that reads “Lunch Lady” with a fork and knife crossbone. Staff was also given treats ranging from Pumpkin Pies, persimmons, and much more courtesy of Gold Star Foods.
Gold Star Foods also recognized the Nutrition Services team for their work in feeding families during the pandemic. In a letter from Gold Star’s CEO, Sean Lee said “As access to food became more critical, your district responded further to this urgent need. Working in partnership with the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program and Gold Star Food, you provided food boxes totaling 138k pounds for those most in need.”
Director Lee is extremely proud of her team and excited for them to get a well-deserved break. The District won’t be distributing food from Tuesday through Friday this week, but will be back in full force on Monday, November 30th.