Last week we spoke with Chef Kelsey Perusse, MS, RDN. She is the Nutrition Coordinator for Pleasanton Unified School District in the SF Bay Area, one of the first areas in the United States to be placed under mandatory "shelter in place
" orders. Since our conversation, officials in 12 states, including the entire state of California, have told residents to stay home. In the throes of this chaos, Kelsey and her team have been thinking a lot about gratitude.
"Life feels a bit unsettling to say the least. A week and a half ago our cafeterias were open, and kids were flooding the lines as the bell rang. In a matter of days, schools were closed and in some areas, there is a shelter in place. One thing that seems to have remained unchanged, school nutrition professionals are essential workers."
While many people are working remote, cafeteria staff are showing up. What is Perusse's formula for showing appreciation?
"This week our days have started with a team meeting that is a 5-minute update. We always begin with: 'Thank you for showing up to feed the kids. I am grateful you are here. Your work matters.' Which is followed by food safety reminders, today's plan of action, and critical updates."
She continued to share, "Today after the update, as I sat in my office, there was something comforting in hearing staff laughing as they blasted 'Everybody Loves Kung Fu Fighting
'. It felt reassuring that even amidst the chaos we had come together to continue to do the important work of feeding the kids. You can tell that when you start with gratitude, it sets the tone for the day."
As you move forward this week, trying to sift through regulations, supply chain shortages, and mounting safety concerns, let's all remember to say: "Thank you for showing up. I am grateful you are here. Your work matters."
With sincere gratitude,
The LunchAssist Team