There is a family that arrives every morning, 8 a.m. on the dot, for school meal distribution at Selvidge Middle
. During her first week running the Selvidge distribution site, more than a month ago, Rockwood Child Nutrition Services Secondary Assistant Manager Elaina Lunte made a connection with the boy in the family.
"I play with him and say, 'Hey, kiddo, where's your smile today?'" Lunte said. "Last week, the mom said she likes to be the one that comes and picks up the meal because she likes to see my smile. If I can make somebody's day a little bit brighter for just a few moments during this uncertain time, that's worth it to me."Rockwood Child Nutrition Services
staff members continue to serve around 1,500 meals a day for students who normally rely on school for their food. They show up every weekday morning starting at 6 a.m. to prepare all the breakfast and lunch packs that go to families who drive to the distribution sites or via Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) buses to district students who live in St. Louis city.
Friday, May 1, is School Lunch Hero Day. Rockwood Director of Child Nutrition Carmen Fischer said she feels fortunate to have her school lunch heroes staffing the distribution sites at LaSalle Springs
, Rockwood South
and Selvidge middle schools.
"We have such dedicated Child Nutrition staff members who are continuing to work to feed our students," Fischer said. "I really appreciate their willingness to help and their positive attitudes. They know students depend on the food we provide throughout the school year and, especially this past month, they are superheroes!"
Lunte directs a staff of five workers – plus one warehouse driver – at Selvidge. Child Nutrition Training Supervisor Tracy Kennedy leads a staff of four at Rockwood South.
Along with preparing daily breakfast and lunch for pickup and distribution via VICC buses, staff members also collect weekly packs for families who cannot make the trip each day. School social workers help identify the families that need weekly distribution and make arrangements to get their packs to them.
The Child Nutrition workers arrive before the daily two-hour distribution window and leave after it's over, always trying to stay a day ahead in making meals for Rockwood students.
"It's a great feeling. You get out of bed every day for this," Kennedy said. "It's something to look forward to."