Romeo Community Schools
The food service staff at Romeo Community Schools has weathered the pandemic and continues to meet challenges as they arise. In September alone, staff have served over 21,000 breakfasts, a similar amount to what was served September through December in 2019. Similarly, lunch service has more than doubled from approximately 28,000 in September 2019 to more than 58,000 in September 2021. The increase in school meal distribution is due in part to universal free school meals for the 2021-2022 school year.
Despite the dramatic increase in demand, Romeo’s food service staff is more dedicated than ever to ensuring that students have healthy, nutritious meals so they can arrive in class ready to learn. At Hevel Elementary School, one of five in the school district, breakfast service has increased dramatically from approximately 20 breakfasts per day to nearly 200 breakfasts daily. Elementary students also now enjoy their breakfast in their classrooms, a program that is anticipated to stay in the 2022-2023 school year and perhaps beyond.
In addition to the increase in demand for school meals, Romeo High School is also meeting other student needs, including offering an iced latte program for their students to enjoy as part of their free school breakfast. The staff has created an efficient system with cups pre-filled with ice and cold brew coffee ready to go when breakfast service begins. Students can choose a sugar-free flavored syrup and white or chocolate milk to top off their latte. Many students who were previously seen bringing in coffee shop drinks are now visiting the lunchroom for a school-made latte and breakfast, all free of charge. Nichol Haw, Director of Food Service is extremely proud of her team. “I have to say thank you to the high school team for making the latte program a super success,” said Haw. “I gave them the tools and concept and they took it and made it what it is today – amazing!”
While Romeo schools have seen lots of recent success with their meal programs, they have also faced post-pandemic challenges such as supply chain shortages. The increase in meal service numbers has been tough with aging equipment and space that wasn’t originally designed for this high level of service. Despite these challenges, the food service staff is determined to overcome them by having a flexible menu and improvising to come up with creative ways to ensure the food is held at proper temperatures and that quality food is always served to the students.
With the staff’s continual hard work, countless hours, and dedication to their students, these great meal programs will continue to benefit the students and community for years to come.