PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In celebration of School Lunch Hero Day (May 1) and in the midst of the largest public health crisis in recent history, Philadelphia-based Aramark (NYSE:ARMK) is saluting the dedicated school nutrition professionals across the country. The nation’s leading provider of K-12 food & nutrition services also announced today that it is serving one million meals a day to students, and it has safely provided 20 million meals to students in hundreds of school districts across the country, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aramark’s assistance comes as school districts have been forced to close their facilities and adjust meal programs to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This disruption of normal operations has impacted students and their families, teachers, staff and surrounding communities, as well as threatened the ability of many school systems to ensure that their most vulnerable student populations receive nutritious meals. Aramark employees are proud members of the school nutrition community and help advance the company’s unique ability to quickly and safely ensure millions of students and families have access to nutritious meals.
“School nutrition professionals have been on the front lines navigating changing regulations to preserve community access to meals during this public health crisis,” said Barbara Flanagan, president of Aramark’s K-12 Education division. “At Aramark, we are especially honored to salute these devoted heroes who are helping to ensure that children and families stay nourished during this unprecedented time for our country.”
School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who provide healthy meals to nearly 30 million of America’s students each school day. This day, celebrated annually since 2013, was designated by The School Nutrition Association and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series.
Students and families will be showing their appreciation for their school nutrition staff when they pick up their meals in a variety of ways, including making thank you cards and posters; decorating vehicles and buses; dressing as their favorite superhero; and sharing videos and greetings on social media using #HeroesWearHairnets.
Aramark is partnering with 298 school districts to continue food & nutrition services during the COVID-19 outbreak. Following are a few examples:
Chicago Public Schools
When all 600-plus Chicago Public Schools closed indefinitely on March 16, no time was wasted getting meal packages out to families. So far, we have provided over one million meal packages, which include three days’ worth of breakfast and lunch, totaling 7.1 million meals.
Lewisville Independent School District
Lewisville ISD Child Nutrition is currently offering free breakfast and lunch for children under 18 at 11 locations throughout the district. A mobile location called the Streatz & Beatz food truck has been added to serve the community, where a large number of students and families have financial need. Aramark served over 175,000 meals in the first week of service. A partnership with the local organization, Lovepacs, provided over 1,000 weekend meal bags for families.
“We could not be more proud of the way our partners at Aramark have responded to this exceptionally challenging situation. In a very short period of time, they developed a system to distribute food to thousands of families, many of whom were experiencing food insecurity for the first time due to COVID-19. They displayed incredible care, compassion and professionalism, even in the midst of caring for their own families and facing their own worries,” said Lewisville Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Rogers.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket School Department
Once the governor of Rhode Island alerted the state that schools would be closing on March 16, a plan was developed to help families impacted by the closures. A Facebook message was posted on the Pawtucket food service program’s page, and within hours, it had over 1,000 shares and had reached over 55,000 people. Since then, Aramark has helped serve more than 44,000 meals at eight of the schools within the district to families.
“Aramark was extremely proactive in developing a plan to ensure that Pawtucket students would continue to receive breakfast and lunch during an unanticipated school closure,” said Melissa Devine, Chief Financial Officer for Pawtucket School Department. “The Aramark team has worked, and continues to work diligently, moving about the eight different locations that the District is offering food five days per week, including preparation and distribution of food for weekends when not serving.”
Springfield Public Schools
Twelve school sites in the district have been set up as “prep sites” where Aramark is helping preparing meals that are delivered to the district distribution sites. Families drive through to pick up their breakfast and lunch bags. Bus routes have also been scheduled to deliver meals to over 400 students who do not have a way to pick up meals from the distribution sites. Since schools have closed, Aramark has prepared more than 287,000 meals.
“The Aramark team has bent over backwards to serve the students of Springfield Public Schools,” said Travis Shaw, Ed. D., Executive Director—Operations, Springfield Public Schools. “The way we are feeding kids has drastically changed, but Aramark’s love and care for kids has only been enhanced through this unprecedented time. They have responded to every request with flexibility and a willingness to do whatever it takes.”
Aramark serves nearly 370 million meals each year, to more than two million children. To learn more about Aramark’s K-12 Education division, please visit https://www.aramark.com/industries/education/k-12-school-districts, or join the conversation by following #HeroesWearHairnets on Twitter.
B-Roll and Photos Available for Download Here.
Aramark (NYSE:ARMK) proudly serves the world’s leading educational institutions, Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, prominent healthcare providers, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world. Our 280,000 team members deliver innovative experiences and services in food, facilities management and uniforms to millions of people every day. We strive to create a better world by making a positive impact on people and the planet, including commitments to engage our employees; empower healthy consumers; build local communities; source ethically, inclusively and responsibly; operate efficiently; and reduce waste. Aramark is recognized as a Best Place to Work by the Human Rights Campaign (LGBTQ+), DiversityInc, Black Enterprise and the Disability Equality Index. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.