11 June 2018

Notes from the Breakfast Lady

Yeah - my new job that started in December? It's become one of my favorite parts of my life. These kids are great! Even the ones who are less-great have something to teach, or something to share, or progress to be excited about.

Want to know what I have to say to everyone else about it? First off, as suspected, kids with polite manners are so much easier to like! Manners can also help if you have a favorite thing to eat on a non-busy breakfast, or even if it's not too crazy at lunch. My shift is decidedly slower than our lunches, but the kids who visit me regularly know that it's okay to ask if I have more Rice Krispie Treats, or another cheese stick, or a different flavor of yogurt. Sometimes I'll say yes, or sometimes I'll say there's too much going on and what you see is what you get. But you never know for sure unless you ask!

For parents especially, let's start out by putting to rest the idea that any lunch lady (at least of the dozens that I know) throws away food instead of giving it to a child who doesn't have enough money on their account. First of all, we do run your account a bit negative if your child is still hungry and out of money. Second of all, if your child is out of money or has a negative account, we certainly don't send them off to learn on an empty stomach! I always say my first job is to FEED THE CHILDREN. Easy peasy. If an account is negative and we're not recieving response to requests for funds, a child will be given a comp lunch (no charge to the account, but possibly not the child's first choice of what they want to eat). Our comp lunch, for example, is a WOW (fake peanut butter) and jelly sandwich with a bag of apple slices and a carton of milk. My son loves the sandwich, my daughter would rather have something else. It is a regular menu item as well.

Back to where I was - for parents, please monitor your child's food service account balance. Things happen. When my daughter was in 1st or 2nd grade, a friend told her the ladies gave away free food at breakfast, so she stared visiting the cafe every morning. About a week after this started, I pulled up her account and saw she was out of money! Food isn't free, kid. LOL The ladies selling breakfast recognized her, fed her, and charged her. My daughter and I talked about it, and she agreed to just getting breakfast at school once a week.

See if your district offers account access online. Ours does, and it's super convenient for me. As a parent, I've decided that budgeting is even easier if I keep depositing to my kids' online lunch accounts this summer, so they'll have a really healthy balance when they're back to school in the fall.

If you don't have online access to your food service account, please pay attention to however your district notifies you of a low balance. If you feel like you're missing notifications, don't be afraid to call and check. We really want your child to be happy and fed what they choose.

Last but not least - give your kids an extra hug this summer, and I can't wait to see them back in the fall!

And very last, I'd like to give my notice to Hollywood that not all lunch ladies look like they're frequently portrayed in the movies. LOL
(and to be fair, our principal looks nothing like Trunchbull either!)
Thanks to the movie Matilda for inspiration on what I'll never be!


Liz Parker said...

Ha ... I love Matilda. Sounds like you have some interesting stories. When I was in high school, my mom would give me like $10 a week (or a month maybe? I forget. lol) and I could use that when I'd like to buy lunch. I mostly brought lunch though ... I think I was allowed to buy lunch once per week.

Jenn said...

Our daughter finished high school last year and there were many times over the years that she ran out of funds on her account. Our city didn't offer an online account for food and with both parents working it was easy to miss it. I always felt horrible. Like a bad parent.