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Employees' overnight scramble saves East Ridge school lunch

Some District 833 Nutrition Services employees pulled an overnight shift last week to ensure East Ridge High School students would have lunch despite a hot water shortage in the building.

The school’s boilers malfunctioned on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The part needed for the boiler repair would not be available until the following morning, Superintendent Keith Jacobus said, and health requirements prohibit food from being prepared in a school without hot water.

So, Jacobus said, Nutrition Services Director Wendy Tracy and Dorie Pavel, the department’s operations and fiscal management specialist, went to work on their solution.

Beginning about 10:30 p.m., they and eventually other Nutrition Services staff gathered food from buildings across the district and used kitchens at Lake Middle School and Cottage Grove and Red Rock elementary schools to prepare a modified menu of sandwiches, salads and freshly cut fruits and vegetables.

They worked through the night and by midmorning Wednesday, Sept. 14, had delivered the meals to East Ridge in time for lunch. Their effort was “above and beyond,” Jacobus said.

“They just did a phenomenal job,” he said. “It just ran very smoothly. The lunch was still very good and nutritious, and we didn’t miss anything…”

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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