The Lunch Room is Full But Not with Students

Shepherdstown, W.Va., – When you think of essential workers; people putting their lives on the line to keep everyday life normal, you may think of doctors, firefighters, police officers, restaurant workers, and many others, but one of the most overlooked essential workers are school system staff. Specifically, lunchroom staff.  

Lunchroom
The lunch room full of lunches but missing students.

There are millions of people in the world who are putting their lives on the line, but lunchroom workers are often overlooked when it comes to the talk of essential workers. 

This subject hits home for me because my mother, Genelda Bartling, is the cafeteria manager at my alma-mater, Woodgrove High School, in Loudoun County, Virginia.  

One may picture ladies putting food on your tray and sending you off to eat. The reality is that they work hard serve food to students around the nation.

Woodgrove High School sends out an average of 500 meals per day and just recently, Loudoun County Public Schools surpassed 2 million meals served since the start of the global pandemic

I had a chance to go back home last week and interview my mother about how her job has changed since March. She spoke about how her and her team have been serving food off of the back dock of the school since the pandemic began. 

Her normal day at work consists of cooking food and making lunch bags for students that want to come by the school and use their lunch number to buy food at the school.

These lunches can be either hot or cold, and the bags consist of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with a granola bar and applesauce. If you prefer warm lunch, they serve burgers, chicken sandwiches, and many other foods for students to come by and grab at the school. 

All high schools in Loudoun County are serving food out of the back dock of their schools Monday through Friday. 

Packing lunches into buses to be delivered.

The lunchroom workers are putting their lives on the line to get food out to students and families who struggle with finding and paying for food in their normal everyday lives. The food is offered to any student in Loudoun County who want or need to eat food at their local high school.   

Begin trying to recognize all the essential workers that you come in contact with, because I could probably guess that we all overlook a lot of workers who are putting their lives on the line to make our lives as normal as possible under the current circumstances. 

Thank an essential worker!

AJ Bartling
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