During this pandemic, one of the most overlooked and critical essential workers have been those working within the school food service sector. Although often stereotyped as a scowling, hairnet wearing individuals who slop food onto trays, nothing could be further from the truth!

NOTE: Due to regulations per the health department, hairnets are a required as a part of their uniforms.

These tens of thousands of women and men are truly consummate professionals. Daily they overcome the challenges of building nutritious meals for children all while navigating through more regulatory hoops than most people face in a lifetime. And they do it with a smile.

When the pandemic hit, the people of this industry demonstrated a level of innovation rarely seen. With guile and perseverance as their only real resources, they seemly created out of thin air, emergency meal programs to feed the millions of children that became remote learners overnight. And no two programs looked the same.

From innovations like bus stop meal drops and grocery box pickup lines, the creativity shown by these ladies and gentlemen rivals any tech giant and were established with one one-millionth of the budget of Apple. So, although there is no shortage of heroes for us to celebrate during this crisis, make sure these exceptional people are included. They deserve your thanks and respect, hairnet, and all.


About the author

Thomas Lane is an entrepreneur leading the charge in innovation for how we feed children and seniors in need, who has supported the USDA meal program for over 15 years. To reach Thomas for interviews, please email [email protected].