Dear LMSD Families,
In recent days, my department has heard from a number of parents and guardians with concerns about the variety and quality of current LMSD school lunches. As I know this is a topic of discussion on social media as well, I wanted to reach out directly to address these concerns. Please know that LMSD Nutritional Services is striving to provide healthy and delicious meal options to our students and we will continue to do so.
Our Nutritional Services staff is working harder than ever to prepare meals for our students, despite hiring challenges and extreme conditions that have affected the menu variety and selection that we can offer. Disruptions in the supply chain have impacted everything we purchase, including food, paper products and equipment. One week, we were unable to get apples. Another week it was carrots. And the list goes on. The quote below is from a recent report on The Today Show:
"The problems stretch from farm to cafeteria table, worsened by the pandemic and greater economic forces: A labor shortage has affected the food distribution and production industries. There are not enough workers on production lines, in warehouses and driving delivery vehicles. And at schools, unfilled cafeteria positions have forced (teaching) staff to serve lunches and some have stopped providing hot meals altogether."
We are also facing some internal challenges, as we are serving meals in multiple locations in addition to the cafeterias in many schools, so that students can be distanced while they eat lunch with their masks off. Food safety is our primary concern as we transport meals to auditoriums, tents, gyms, etc. so some items that require a specific temperature may not be available.
LMSD Nutritional Services staff is feeding more students than we ever have before, because the meals are free. I apologize and understand current frustrations. Please know that we want only the best for our students and will continue to work to improve our District dining options.
I ask for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.
Karen Castaneda, MBA, RD, LDN
Director of Nutritional Services
Lower Merion School District
301 E. Montgomery Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003