The halls of K-12 schools across the country are eerily quiet, as teachers and students stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet cafeteria workers are reporting to work, figuring out innovative ways to serve children free, nutritious school meals in the middle of a pandemic that has caused unprecedented job loss and economic upheaval.
The global crisis has made one thing abundantly clear: Millions of families depend on access to government-subsidized meals and when schools are closed, students may go hungry. So cafeteria workers across the country are leaving their own children and loved ones at home, even risking their own health and purchasing their own protective gear, to continue serving free meals.
School cafeteria staff care deeply for the students they feed. “I lay awake at night trying to figure out how we can do more for our kids,” wrote a worker from Kansas in a school meals Facebook group.