Sumter County Schools Nutrition Department Continues to Feed Students During Virtual Learning

Pictured Left to Right: Mrs. Lorraine Lassiter, Sumter County Elementary School Nutrition Manager and Sumter County Schools’ Nutrition Director, Margaret M. Goodin RDN, LD

Recently the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended flexibility for school districts to continue offering meal service to children under the Seamless Summer Option.
The waiver qualifies all children ages 2-18 for free meals. This program is an extension of the National School Lunch Program and will run until December 31, 2020 or until funds are no longer available.
Sumter County Schools’ Nutrition Director, Margaret M. Goodin RDN, LD started in October of 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics with a concentration in Business from Gannon University and is a licensed Registered Dietitian. Goodin hit the ground running and quickly began working with revamping the breakfast and lunch menus for the students. 
When schools were closed in March of 2020 due to COVID-19, she began working with the managers of the schools to continue to serve nutritious meals to the students that could be packaged and delivered while still keeping the students and staff safe. During the shut-down and summer, the nutrition department served over 139K meals. Goodin stated, “with the guidelines of Seamless Summer, the nutrition department will be able to continue to make available breakfast and lunch for all students. Beginning in October, students will receive two sets of meals on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and one set on Mondays.” The nutrition department has teamed up with the system’s transportation department and are working together to deliver the meals. 
Mrs. Lorraine Lassiter, who has worked for Sumter Count Schools for over 44 years and has been the manager at Sumter County Elementary School since 2001, works close with her employees to package meals for over 300 students each day. Her kitchen passed inspection with a 100% during their latest Georgia Department of Public Health: Food Service Establishment Inspection Report. “It makes me feel good. I know we are doing something right. Mrs. Goodin has brought new ideas and ways to keep food cold and ways to keep the kitchens sanitized” said Mrs. Lassiter. 
Goodin has changed the process of food preparation and the way the food is packaged. Students don’t just get a basic “quick grab” meal. She has expanded the menu to include baked chicken tenders, chicken-tomatoes bake, spaghetti and even burritos. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also included in every meal. The meals are packaged and sealed with reheating instructions. “At the beginning of the summer, we were able to send only cold foods, now we are sending foods that can be reheated,” stated Goodin. Milk is frozen so that it will maintain the right temperature while the meals are being transported. 
Both Goodin and Lassiter stated they miss the children, but keeping everyone safe is their number one priority. If there are children under the age of 19 and are not receiving meals, please contact the transportation department at 229-931-8507. The pickup sites and times are on the district website on the nutrition page. 
In addition to her extensive education background, Goodin brings over 15 years of experience from working as a Registered Dietitian for Sumter Regional Hospital, Culinary Arts instructor for South Georgia Technical College, Director of Nutritional Services & Clinical Nutrition Manager, and Clinical Dietitian, and Director of Food and Nutrition for Phoebe Sumter Medical Center
Pictured Left to Right: Mrs. Lorraine Lassiter, Sumter County Elementary School Nutrition Manager and Sumter County Schools’ Nutrition Director, Margaret M. Goodin RDN, LD
Lassiter and Goodin