Behind-the-scenes staff are nutrition heroes to many families

INDIO – In the last 10 months, the Desert Sands Unified School District Nutrition Services team, also known as nutrition heroes, has adapted to serve more than 3 million drive-through pick-up meals district-wide, including 1.9 million meals within the city of Indio.

School Nutrition Heroes to be Honored in Indio

Picking up lunch.

These nutrition heroes provided breakfast and lunch seven days a week at 18 school sites and one apartment complex within the city.

The city of Indio will recognize 68 Desert Sands Unified School District employees for their commitment to keeping families fed with healthy and nutritious meals during the pandemic at its Jan. 20 City Council meeting.

DSUSD’s Nutrition Services staff would typically be responsible for warming food in a cafeteria, serving meals to students, and interacting with them at the register.  Now they are providing grab-and-go meals in extreme desert weather, including scorching and frigid temperatures.  In addition, employees move heavy equipment in order to transport the food safely outdoors.

“These School Nutrition Heroes truly serve as the ‘front-line’ for many families,” said Mayor Elaine Holmes.  “Even outside of the pandemic, they sometimes provide the only reliable meal students may receive in a day.  We are extremely grateful that they have stepped up to meet a growing need.”

School Nutrition Heroes to be Honored in Indio

Grab-and-go at Indio High School

“They take great pride in the job they do, and it is apparent in the smiles of their students,” added Dan Cappello, Nutrition Services Director for Desert Sands Unified School District.  “Our ‘lunch team’ is extremely understanding, and takes pride in providing a sense of normalcy to parents and students.”

As City Council Chambers are not open to the public at this time, Indio’s City Council will present these DSUSD staff members a Proclamation at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 via Zoom.  The public is welcome to watch the recognition live via the city’s website or Facebook page.

Grab-and-go meals are available to all students at no cost, and take place at all Indio schools on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Image Sources

  • Grab-and-go meal: DSUSD
  • Indio High grab-and-go: DSUSD
  • Grab and go meals: DSUSD