Serving Up Meals with a Smile
Now more than ever, National School Lunch Hero Day on Friday, May 1 has a very timely meaning.
Making sure hundreds of students get fed every day is a challenging task during the best of times. Serving breakfast and lunch with a smile and kind word for each student is all part of the job for the food service staff at Amherst Central School District.
“I can't say enough about the great staff I have,” said Tracey Ogilvie, School Lunch Manager. “They have been through quite a few changes this year.”
Currently, those changes include a daily curbside pickup from 9-11 a.m. at the Windermere Boulevard Elementary School loop for families to get breakfast and lunch to go. On average, 1,926 meals are distributed each week.
If a family has extenuating circumstances, such as no vehicle, there is a group of Amherst teachers who volunteer to deliver the meals. On Fridays, triple meals are sent home so students have meals for Saturday and Sunday.
“It is very important to make sure our students have access to school meals during these trying times, so they are able to concentrate on their academics while they are learning at home,” she said. Food service staffers decorated some of the brown paper bags with inspirational artwork for the students.
Another adjustment earlier in the year was the high school kitchen-cafeteria closing for the capital improvement project renovation. Some of the high school staff worked at Smallwood Drive Elementary School preparing the lunches for the high school, while the rest of the high school staff worked in the alternate cafeteria that was set up in the south gym.
“Their dedication to serving the students nutritious meals, with a smile, is appreciated by all,” she said. “It was a very smooth transition for the students and staff as well.”
The School Lunch Hero Day is a nationwide celebration on the first Friday every May hosted by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and illustrator of the popular LUNCH LADY graphic novel series, the School Nutrition Association and Random House Children’s Books. Inspired by his own childhood school lunch hero, Jean J. Cariglia, Krosoczka created the popular LUNCH LADY series of graphic novels for kids, starring a crime-fighting school nutrition professional and her faithful sidekick, Betty.