Cafeteria workers appreciated

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2005

It was time for lunch at King’s Fork Middle School, and Meredith Mclaughlin hurried through the lunch line and set down her tray.

&uot;Now this is what I call a lunch!&uot; exclaims the eighth-grader, glancing over her gourmet, nutritionally-balanced meal of fries, nachos, cookies and chocolate milk.

Getting down to chewing, Meredith and her friends remembered the people that had put together the grub for thousands of Suffolk youngsters every afternoon.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;They rock!&uot; Meredith says, gulping down some chips. &uot;They always feed us really good food.&uot;

&uot;It’s always really warm,&uot; said Sarah Stacy, a fellow eighth-grader. &uot;It’s nice of them to take the time to serve us food. I always say thank you.&uot;

Over the past week, the rest of America’s students, their teachers and administrators did as well as part of National Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week.

&uot;They’re just wonderful,&uot; King’s Fork Principal Talmadge Darden says of his culinary staff. &uot;They work hard, and they make sure that everything’s always ready. I don’t have to worry about them at all. All our kids get fed every day.&uot;

Since nachos became a regularity at the school a short time ago, the cafeteria’s atmosphere has gotten more and more crowded. But manager Pat Holland and head cook Ann Harrell don’t mind at all.

&uot;This is good if you have children in school, because you’re off the days they’re off,&uot; said Holland, filling up a plate with a cheesy snack. Before Fork, she helped feed students at Lakeland, Forest Glen and John F. Kennedy high schools. &uot;You’re home weeknights, weekends and on holidays.

&uot;This was the first job I got when I came to Suffolk about 30 years ago,&uot; she said. &uot;I made rolls for 13 years. Back then, we made everything from scratch, and there’s nothing like having homemade rolls out here in the country.&uot;

&uot;I just know what I’m doing!&uot; said Harrell, formerly of Nansemond River and John Yeates Middle School. &uot;I enjoy the food and working with the kids. I come in early and do my thing, and I hope I’m still here when I get old enough to retire in about 10 years.&uot;