By Gerri Miller
Staff Writer, Elmore/Autauga News
The tables were turned in Wetumpka Monday, Aug. 3. About 75 Elmore County lunchroom staffers who have tirelessly volunteered serving food packages to the families of children got to put their feet up and get served.
School Superintendent Richard Dennis and several members of the Elmore County Board of Education (BOE) were the ones doing the serving. Cacye Davis and her staff with the Child Nutrition Program went all out as the volunteers were served thick ribeye steaks, baked potatoes, green beans, rolls, and banana pudding. The event was held at the Wetumpka Civic Center.
Most of those eating lunch were coming from the morning’s last food distribution before school starts next week, Aug. 10. The program started serving bulk meals to children on March 17 after Gov. Kay Ivey made the announcement that schools would be closing due to COVID-19 concerns. The seven-day bundles normally included a package of snacks and drinks, frozen meals, a gallon of white or chocolate milk and fresh fruit or vegetables.
District 2 BOE Representative Wendell Saxon provided a special treat for the staff with door prizes for each school lunchroom represented.
Davis said, “There is no way for me to say thank you enough for your efforts, time and willingness to serve. Since March 16th, you have not stopped…. I appreciate all that you have done.”
Davis said figuring out the logistics for such a unique food distribution program puts the school district in a good position to overcome problems it may face during the school year.
Davis said there have been 24 food serving days since March 16th and she asked volunteers who had served all 24 days to stand up. A large group of volunteers were able to stand up and claim this distinction. Others had only missed one or two servings.
She also thanked the many community agencies, churches, directors, teachers, and many others who volunteered their time to make the program successful.
Dennis thanked the volunteers and told them that their efforts help the school district financially because it helps them maintain employees. (The food drops brought federal funding to the district that it would have otherwise lost.)
“We aren’t in a bind like many other school systems,” Dennis said. “Some systems are having to repay millions of dollars from their general funds.”
Dennis said he volunteered at most of the school sites during the serving days. “Watermelon day was a real workout,” he laughed. “It was fun and felt like we were doing something for our community.”
“Thanks for doing an incredible job,” he told the group. “I am looking forward to a great school year.” See more photos below.