In My Shoes: Cafeteria Manager

Posted on: Thu, 07/26/2018 - 09:00

Hunger does not take a summer vacation. That’s why I am so proud that FCPS offers a Summer Meal Program.

Too many members of our community struggle with hunger and food insecurity. During the school year, FCPS works so hard to ensure that none of our students is hungry during the school day. In the summer, it’s more challenging to ensure that young people in need receive nutritious and healthy meals. That’s why we’re serving free breakfast and lunch to anyone 18 years old and younger at 9 school locations throughout the county until August 16. You can find details here.

FCPS is extremely fortunate to have dedicated Food and Nutrition Services employees who make the summer meals program such a success. I recently visited with one of them.

She is a one-woman team this summer. Liz Zeigler, cafeteria manager at Waverley Elementary School, cooks the food, serves the children, and cleans up the kitchen. Yet, she is absolutely delighted to be able to provide lunch to children in need. And they are absolutely delighted to see Miss Liz!

Children eagerly enter the lunch line asking about today’s entrée. Miss Liz greets them with a warm smile and friendly conversation. She asks if they visited the book mobile that was there earlier in the morning. She greets students from the summer camp and asks what they learned today—and they describe all they discovered about planets and outer space. She knows each family so well that she asks about a sibling who has not appeared in the line yet. Her genuine care for each child is so evident; you just have to smile as you watch her serve them lunch.

When I asked Liz about the difference between her job in the summer and during the school year, she did not mention that she is tackling all of the tasks alone. Instead she noted that she loves meeting the children’s parents and getting to know them better. Building relationships and building community are activities she does so naturally. It is no wonder everyone is so happy when they enter her realm—the school cafeteria.

Attendance for the summer lunch program varies from day to day. The most she has served are about 160 meals on a day when the summer camps were going and the Judy Center was offering a program. That is a lot for one person, but she never complains. In fact, she tells every parent who accompanies a child through the line to tell their neighbors about the program so that more children will come tomorrow!

Liz Zeigler is a true ambassador for FCPS. Her passion for feeding children is evident in everything she does. It is no surprise that she was named our 2018 FCPS Food Service Employee of the Year! Very well deserved!

Please help spread the word about our summer meals program. And please share your thoughts with me on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And if you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.