, Derry, New Hampshire

November 22, 2012

Derry schools make fast move to save food

Quick thinking saves district's food supply

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — The super storm several weeks ago did more than knock out power to several of the district’s schools.

It also packed a punch in school kitchens and made for some quick thinking to save the lunchroom food.

District business administrator Jane Simard told the School Board it was quick decisions and a lot of helping hands during Hurricane Sandy that helped protect the schools’ food. Workers managed to keep the majority of the food from spoiling after the power went out.

While several elementary schools had no power and students lost three days of school the week of Halloween, Gilbert H. Hood Middle School retained its power and became the lifeline for the district’s food service supply.

Simard said food was moved from the powerless schools over to Hood with only minimal loss.

“Our only loss was milk and ice cream,” Simard said.

She said kitchen workers, maintenance crew members and volunteers made the trips to Hood to safeguard the food from other district schools.

All along the way, kitchen workers monitored the temperature to make sure nothing fell below safe standards.

“(The) had thermostats and were testing all the way,” Simard said.

Yogurt temperatures remained at optimal levels, but other dairy products had to be thrown out.

“We did not lose much,” Simard said. “They acted very quickly.”

Derry cafeteria freezers can keep food safely up to 48 hours, Simard said, but it was better to be safe than sorry to make sure all the district’s food was kept safe and healthy for students.

School Board Chairman Brenda Willis said it was good for the district to be proactive when it came to saving valuable food.

“It was a good plan,” she said.