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A thank you from Jeanette Orrey this Christmas

As we head towards Christmas, Jeanette Orrey, co-founder of Food for Life, reflects on what has been a tough period and praises school cooks and caterers for all their hard work.

In November I wrote about the often-overlooked school food workforce of over 60,000. For this Forgotten Army, this year has been like a merry-go-round that we couldn’t get off. I wanted to write to you all before you go off for a well-deserved break at Christmas, to say thank you.

All of us at Food for Life have the utmost admiration for everyone working in the school meals industry, along with all the suppliers and producers who grow and deliver food to the school kitchens across the country.

Over the last nine months, we have seen that nobody is immune to this dreadful virus and my heart goes out to all those who have been affected. Through what has been an extremely turbulent period, your industry has overcome many obstacles, designing bubbles, delivering food parcels and cooking meals not only for the children but the community as well.

Christmas will soon be upon us and I’m sure many of you have already put in your orders with suppliers. I’m sure that you’re keeping your fingers crossed that numbers will not be going up or down too much, that staff will keep safe and well, and that the date of your Christmas meal won’t be changed, as happened to a friend of mine who had already written their menu and ordered their produce!

I have said it before and I make no excuse for saying it again - across the sector, you have risen to every challenge you have faced with a smile and a can-do attitude and for that all at Food for Life say thank you.

All it leaves me to do now is to say I hope your Christmas dinners go well. They will undoubtedly be ready on time with smiling catering staff. I know you’ll be ready to convince the unwilling Brussel sprout eaters to ‘just try one’ and then watch as the sprout ‘accidentally’ falls off the plate and rolls under the table…

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, stay safe and well I am really looking forward to seeing many of you next year.


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