Food distribution adjustments came naturally for ‘lunch heroes’


Marinez Espinoza

The Greeley West lunch ladies take a break to pose for a picture on Friday morning.

Marinez Espinoza, Staff Writer

With Friday being National School Lunch Hero Day, it’s time to recognize Greeley West’s nutrition staff, especially after Covid changed everything about their job this year.  Spartans went from standing in lines for lunch to having the lunch bags brought to their homerooms.  

 Having to pack the lunches and drop off the boxes of lunch to the classroom is different from last year making it harder on the lunch ladies.  The head of West’s nutrition staff,  Ms. Mary Nestler said that the change has added to the stress of getting food to kids, but that it’s also the best option.  ¨It is harder but I think It’s safest to keep on delivering to the classes for now,¨ Nestler said. 

One of the challenges for the lunch ladies caused by the pandemic was having to change the way they served food, but the kids made this job a little more challenging when they decide to order late.  Nestler said,  ¨It’s not stressful as long as everybody orders on time, but it’s the late orders and kids that forget to order that I have to make the extra food for.¨

What makes this process more challenging is the lunch staff has an order of preparing the lunches.  Late orders mess with their process and can also change it.  Nestler said, ¨When they come running to say ‘I need lunch’ it’s difficult to fill because I already figured all my numbers for the day.  So I think I need 473 but I really need another 20 or 30 because people don’t order.¨

Even though late orders can mess with their process, Nestler said the lunch ladies will go out of their way to make sure a student gets their lunch. Nestler said, ¨Sometimes I have to run into the refrigerator and make more, and that’s really hard, but I don’t want somebody to go without lunch so we make more.¨

Although the pandemic did change much, one thing that didn’t change is there can be shortages on the choice of food  for a student.  Pre-Panedemic, a salad bar and sides substituted more food for hungry students.  Nestler hopes those options return next year.  ¨Pre covid, I prefer to serve my lunch that way because we had a nice salad bar and you guys got your choices if it were gone.¨

The most in-demand product continues to be pizza.  At the beginning of the year, they served pizza every day of the week, and now that everybody is in school every day they limited it to two days of the week.  ¨I wouldn’t mind having pizza every day…pizza is easy for me because I just have to order it, pizza night is a good night,¨ Nestler said.