Colbert County child nutrition employees praised for their service on School Lunch Hero Day

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COLBERT HEIGHTS, Ala. —  For cafeteria workers nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic was a stressful time, due to having to adjust to new ways to better serve students. That’s no different for Colbert County Schools.

Friday, May 7 is School Lunch Hero Day. At Colbert Heights Elementary School, that’s just what Child Nutrition Program Director Angie Datuin calls the cafeteria staff.

Datuin said throughout the pandemic, the employees had to be cautious, not only for their own health and safety but also for the health and safety of the students when packaging and delivering meals.

“It’s just heartwarming to see how hard they work and how much they give and how much they care,” Datuin said. “They try to serve healthy, nutritious meals because they know that our students need it. We have lots of families who are food insecure at this time.”

Food insecurity was already a concern before the pandemic. Datuin said around 74 percent of students in Colbert County Schools qualify for free and reduced meals.

Because of that, Datuin praised the USDA for extending the free meal program for schools through June 2022.

“Families who have suffered job loss, families who are having medical problems, anything, will no longer have to worry about how their children are going to get meals when they come to school,” Datuin said.

Datuin added that the free meals will also help the Child Nutrition Program because reimbursement rates will improve. The more students are served, the more the program earns.

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