Coordinating personalized lunches for every staff member is hands down the most work of the entire week, but it is their very favorite event. (I know this because I sent out a survey after SAW last year.)  The feedback I heard from parents was that they didn’t mind making lunches, but decorating the lunches was very intimidating. You’ve seen our past lunches. Some parents go all out. WOW. To alleviate their concerns and encourage volunteers, I designed a Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kit that parents could purchase if they so chose. I had no problem recruiting parents to make lunches this year. Lunch decoration kits = WIN!

 Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kit

To streamline the process even further this year I created a Survey Gizmo lunch survey instead of a printed questionnaire. The free version of Survey Gizmo met my needs for the most part.  I would have liked the ability to export nicely formatted PDF files of each response, but I wasn’t willing to pay for the pro plan to do that. I ended up taking a screen shot of each response and emailing that to the parent who signed up to make lunch. Using Survey Gizmo saved me at least three hours of data entry. In the past I typed the staff responses into an email for each parent.

The day after I handed out Staff Appreciation Week invitations, I also sent an email to the staff with the survey link and asked everyone to complete it by the Wednesday before SAW. The survey asked the following questions:

1. Name

2. What time do you eat lunch?

3. What is your favorite sandwich? (Please include type of bread and condiments.)

4. What is your favorite type of salad? (Please include dressing, if applicable.)

5. What is your favorite side dish? (Chips, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, soup, nuts, etc.)

6. What is your favorite take out? (Please include the restaurant and specific menu item.)

7. What is your favorite dessert?

8. What is your favorite beverage?

9. Do you have any food allergies?

Space Capsule Lunches

TIP: I included “What time do you eat lunch” on the survey for my sorting purposes. (The staff at our school eats in three shifts, and I put them in groups according to time.) If you include lunch time on your survey, make it very clear to the parents preparing the lunch that it is not the delivery time. I asked the volunteers to have lunches to the staff room by 11am. Quite a few of them paid no attention to my instructions, and when I called them frantically because a lunch was missing, was told they were planning to deliver the lunch about five minutes before lunch time. While that sounds all well and good, traffic happens, teachers/staff arrive early… and there is no lunch.

TIP: In addition to the Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kits, the parents were THRILLED about the take-out option for the staff. I have always gone to Panera to buy the lunches I sign up for. (Nobody wants to eat the gluten, egg, dairy, and nut free food from our house. Ha!) Be sure to include specific menu items in addition to restaurant. It’s not very helpful when someone tells you they like Thai food. For instance, my favorite dish at Thai Chef is Broccoli Delight with Chicken. My husband might keel over and die if I made him eat that.

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