Hoagies and grinders, navy beans, sloppy joes, peas and carrots among many others.
In the ’90s Adam Sandler sang about these staples of the school lunch on Saturday Night Live ending the song by saying "We’re doing just fine down in Lunchlady Land." And we laughed at the idea of the lunch lady.
Cut to today — schools are still serving these staples, but perhaps with a new affection for the lunch lady. These meals are served with love by some of the most dedicated employees and volunteers.
And they’ve served a lot of them.
Since mid-March it’s estimated that Kansas school districts and community organizations served more than 10.7 million free breakfasts, lunches and at some sites, snacks and dinners.
The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Rafel Garcia reported those numbers are likely off by a few million more.
That’s a lot of meals and frankly a lot of work. Often food service can be overlooked as a critical operation within education. The coronavirus certainly proved how important our food service programs are for providing children with the fuel needed to grow and learn.
The planning, preparation and logistics needed to make this happen were business as usual. In the face of a crisis when people needed it most our school districts and community organizations put food on the table for our children.
For that we can’t say thank you enough. Your efforts have kept our future fed. You’ve given our children a sense of normalcy, maybe a sense of security too, where maybe we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to give it. We needed that. Perhaps we didn’t know how much we needed it until now. This pandemic has demonstrated how much a small act of kindness can mean.
"I know that our families that participated in the meal service appreciated it very much," Shawnee Heights USD 450 food service director Tara Cox told The Capital-Journal. "The relief on their faces to know they didn’t have to worry about feeding their kids, the number of thank you notes, but mostly the smiles — people in school food service need to have a passion for what they do in order to make it all work."
Over the past few months, our editorial board has highlighted some of the work Kansans have done during this pandemic to make the most of a bad situation. This is yet another story we hope history remembers when we are finally able to close this chapter of our history.
So once again let’s say thanks to those who put food on the table for our kids when we needed it.