MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though students may only see a few food service staff members at their school, it takes a team of 60 employees to make sure that children throughout Muscatine Community School District have access to tasty and nutritious breakfasts and lunches. From administrators who oversee operations, to a nutritionist who plans menus, to head cooks and the district baker who create the food, to the drivers who get food into the schools, and the cashiers who ring up meals for students, it takes many people with different skills to keep everyone fed.
No matter what role they fill, Food and Nutrition Supervisor Alisha Eggers finds that a love of helping kids and always coming to work to do their best unites everyone in the department. As she put it, food service workers do not just do a job, they, “leave their own problems at home, be present for the kids, smile, and let them know that they are important to us.”
The department also enjoys connecting with the community to provide the best possible experiences for the kids. If you have a family recipe that you think children throughout the district would enjoy, Eggers encourages you to share it with her.
As the school year kicks off, the food service department also hopes to get as many qualify students as possible sign up for free and reduced lunch so that kids get the good meals they need to grow and learn. Eggers reminds parents that if they think they might qualify for free and reduced lunch that they can apply at any time during the school year, but that the sooner they do it, the less likely that they will have to pay full price for any lunches.
Food service presents many challenges, from keeping up to date with all guidelines to ensuring that menu items offer nutritious choices that kids will enjoy eating. However, guaranteeing that children get great meals, especially those who may struggle with hunger outside of school, makes it very much worth it for each and every food service worker. “It is definitely all about the kids!” Eggers emphasized, adding that her staff also enjoys building relationships with students and, “receiving hugs when their students see them out in public and thank you cards at school.”