Milton Hershey School Food Services Shifts Meals During Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Milton Hershey School continues to provide a whole child care to more than 2,000 students. MHS believes providing for the daily needs of all students is essential to their success. Clothing, food, fitness, and hair care are part of the program and given to all students for free.
MHS provides all meals and snacks through MHS Food Services, prepared in both student homes and school cafeterias. During the spring of 2020, food services shifted its food model to accommodate COVID-19 regulations and procedures.
“As a life-sustaining organization, MHS had to quickly transition student meals from a cafeteria model to all meals being served in the student home,” Brad Hajek, MHS Director of Food Services, said.
Healthy eating is a focus at MHS, and students learn about balanced diets and food portions. For each meal, Food Services includes in their menus a fruit, vegetable, and protein item to continue teaching the importance of nutrition. This August, MHS also started serving food to students in the school’s cafeteria with in-person instruction resuming.
“We were tasked with creating a six-week rotating lunch menu for students to enjoy for the 2020-21 school year,” Hajek said. “This year’s cafeteria setup is different than past years, but it will continue to offer our students a hot lunch option and variety as the weeks progress.”
The cafeterias have been set up with numbered place settings and partitions to provide social distancing. All meals are pre-plated and pre-set at each student’s seat to manage movement throughout the area.
“It has been a team effort to provide daily meals for our students,” Hajek said. “We have called upon our friends in MHS Transportation and Building Services to help with cleaning and sanitizing tables in between meals as it is a fast turnaround between classes.”