For Sommer Taylor, her favorite part of the day is seeing the students walk through the lunch line at Pope High School especially the students with special needs who always have a smile and a high five for her. Most know her by name. They thank her for giving them “vegetables to make them strong.”
She loves the interaction with the students. It is something she has missed the past week or more while schools have been closed.
“I thoroughly enjoy my job. I get up every day and can’t wait to get to work. I love my coworkers,” gushed Pope’s Food Services assistant manager. “I know I have a purpose. I know that some of these meals are the only meals they will get all day. I love that we are there to feed these children.”
That’s why Ms. Taylor jumped at the opportunity to be one of the few food service workers to prepare meals for students at Acworth Elementary School. While schools are closed, Acworth is one of the eight school locations where Cobb Schools and MUST Ministries have partnered to provide students with a 5-day supply of breakfasts and lunches on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Although she doesn’t get to interact with the students who pick up their lunches and breakfasts for the week at Acworth, Ms. Taylor feels like it is her duty to make sure the students are fed. That’s why she volunteered for the assignment.
This past Monday at Acworth Elementary, a 9-person crew from Cobb Schools Food and Nutrition Services prepared food for 220 kids, which equated to about 1,110 meals.
“They wouldn’t have come if they didn’t need them,” added the six-year veteran of Food and Nutrition Services.
At the eight locations across the District, including Acworth Elementary, Cobb staff served 10,880 breakfasts and 13,600 lunches for a total of 24,480 meals!
Part of the reason Ms. Taylor is so eager to help is because of the support she feels she receives as a member of the Cobb Schools staff. Like many food service workers around the country, the response to the Coronavirus has left many to wonder whether they will have a paycheck. That’s not a worry for her now.
“When we left school [that last day], we were not sure what was going to happen. Those five to six days of not knowing were stressful. When the School Board vote happened, that lifted a burden.”
Ms. Taylor knows she will be able to continue to feed her own family thanks to the vote by Cobb Schools Board of Education to continue paying all salaried and hourly employees who are actively working in the District.
“I love how we are treated. We are very organized. It took [Food and Nutrition Service] leaders only a matter of days to get things back up and running. From the top to the bottom, it shows how well everything runs. I love to work for an organization that appreciates me. I’ve worked a lot of places in my life, and that doesn’t always happen. It doesn’t.”
If everything goes as she plans, Ms. Taylor will be back at Acworth Elementary next Monday to prepare more meals for students.
And, until she can return to the cafeteria at Pope, she will settle for looking forward to the day when she can once again get high fives from students.