Celebrating Lunch Heroes

four food services staff members

May 7, 2021

On May 7, Cairo-Durham and its food service partner Chartwells K12 celebrated National School Lunch Hero Day to recognize the District’s team of essential cooks, chefs, and foodservice workers who have served more than 8,000 meals since the start of the pandemic.

Over the last 365+ days, rain or shine, Cairo-Durham lunch heroes rolled up their sleeves, put on their masks and got to work serving meals to students through deliveries and community pick-up sites.

“Since the day schools shut down, our goal has been to help ensure families never had to worry where their child’s next meal was going to come from,” said Dan Sickles, Food Service Director. “So many families in Cairo-Durham and across the country depend on school lunch. Our Cairo-Durham team has gone above and beyond to brighten kids’ days during what is typically a favorite time of day during the ‘normal’ school year. I’m thankful to work alongside this group of school lunch heroes.”

Along with weekday meal distributions throughout the pandemic, the Cairo-Durham food service team continued to pack, distribute and deliver meals, which included kids’ favorites such as Uncrustables. In addition to the breakfast and lunch entrees in each meal, students get a variety of fruits, vegetables and milk.

At a national level, Chartwells K12 has served more than 300 million meals to students since the onset of the pandemic. The organization is continuing to work with schools across the country like Cairo-Durham to provide meals for the remainder of the school year.

“The amount of work our food service team has put in day and night for our community has been nothing short of heroic,” said Cairo-Durham Superintendent Michael Wetherbee. “To our students, parents and faculty - when you see our school chefs and food service workers today, please take a moment to say thank you. They’ve kept so many of us healthy and safe this past year. It’s been an inspiration to watch these people do extraordinary things to keep children fed.”

School Lunch Hero Day is a national program dedicated to providing well-deserved recognition to school food service professionals for their role in keeping children well-fed, happy and healthy. This year marks the 9th anniversary of the celebration.

About Chartwells K12

Chartwells K12's goal is to make sure students leave the cafeteria happier and healthier than they came in, by serving food kids love to eat and creating custom dining programs. With more than 16,000 associates in 4,100 schools, ranging from large public institutions to small charter and private schools, Chartwells K12 is built on decades of food, education and operational experience driven by top culinary, nutrition, wellness, and sustainability talent. For more information, visit www.ChartwellsK12.com.