The School Lunch Company in Oxfordshire are an independent catering company contracted to provide school lunches in 65 schools across Oxfordshire. With the onset of the COVID crisis we saw in-school catering provisions topple like dominos as staff were furloughed and employers and employees were concerned about safe practice. The School Lunch Company however was determined to keep kitchens open, staff employed and children fed. They quickly reassessed their safety practices, centralising production in hub kitchens, and responded to the needs of each individual school. Their responsiveness, flexibility and commitment of their staff has meant that they have continued to provide a mixture of hot food, packed lunches and food parcels. Food parcels provide families with a week’s worth of healthy lunch time staples delivered to their home and include bread, cheese, ham, tuna, eggs, vegetables to make veggie sticks, fresh fruit, yogurts and some low sugar snacks. The School Lunch Company is careful to look after children who have specific dietary requirements and are able to tailor the parcels and offer gluten free, vegetarian, halal and kosher options.
Les Redhead, the Managing Director, is particularly effusive in his praise for his staff. ‘We have some amazing employees all of whom are committed to delivering healthy meals and food to those that need it most. Our Teams across the county are ordering, preparing, cooking and delivering food to those that need it most and I need to say that we have never been prouder of the response that they have shown.’
Oxfordshire County Council are working with Good Food Oxford on a new campaign, ‘Oxfordshire Food Superstars’, to highlight and share examples of the amazing work that our community food providers (community kitchens, larder, fridges, food banks as well as, schools and catering businesses) are doing to help people get the food they need. Alongside sharing information to help people learn to cook, eat well, grow their own food and waste less.