SCHOOL NUTRITION NEWS: School Food Team Juggles School Lunch and Visit From President Joe Biden
The school visit was part of the White House’s Getting America Back on Track: American Family Plan Tour, a push for returning to in-person learning for all kids. Prior to the visit, Yorktown’s Sodexo foodservice team didn’t have a lot of advanced notice but were tasked with setting up a hospitality tent with water and grab-and-go snacks for the media who would be attending and keeping lunch that day on track as well, a duty Sodexo GM Michelle Lee Knotts considers her top priority, no matter how exciting the special guests. “It was pure excitement,” Knotts says of the moment she heard about the President’s visit, “and then, of course, my mind changes to food: He’s coming to an elementary school where I need to make sure the kids are fed at the same time…what in the world was that going to look like?” After spending a busy weekend getting logistics set up, portions of the building were identified and some of the production was done off site. “I couldn’t believe how much goes into planning when the President is coming!” On the day of the visit, Air Force One arrived in Newport News, where the Bidens met Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam then headed to the school, where the principal and other school leaders were waiting, along with Congresswoman Elaine Luria and her daughter, Violette. The lunch service for the day went off without a hitch, and some of the foodservice staff stood outside and waved to the Bidens—who shouted hellos and thank yous—as they left the school parking lot in “the Beast,” a special armored car.
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