Helpful hands step in to feed hungry kids
STURGIS, S.D. — School lunches are an important part of the day; for some kids – it might be the only meal they get. So what happens when there’s no one around to prepare them?
“District-wide we serve about 2,200 students a day. Here in this building, we serve 550 to 600 each day,” says Rhonda Ramsdell, food service director for the Meade County School District.
A crisis was narrowly averted at Sturgis Brown High School. Just a few weeks ago – and mere hours before meal time – a critical staffing shortage left lunch in limbo. With three food service workers calling out sick, Ramsdell and another staff member were facing a mountainous task alone.
She put out a call for help – which administrators answered.
“It was Rhonda and one other lady to serve the food and so we just stepped in to do what we can to help,” says Sturgis Brown Principal Pete Wilson. “It was like ‘how can we help?’ so we cut up some fresh vegetables for them to help lessen the load while we did what we could.”
And not just administrators, but a senior culinary student stepped up to make sure students got fed.
Ramsdell saying the district has a plan in place to always feed students despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 and general absenteeism. The district has hired 11 new food service workers this year and is working on getting them trained-up.
“I’m really proud of my team and I’m proud of the way that we’ve pulled together and made this happen. I’m proud of the people in this building that helped, and that’s true in all of our schools; the people are just very dedicated to doing the job and to doing it well,” Ramsdell adds.
Both Ramsdell and Wilson grateful for the teamwork, offering a special thanks to the culinary student who brought her skills to the kitchen.