Hot Serve: Appreciating cafeteria workers


Ben Radspinner

Cafeteria worker, Dana Martinez, works hard to serve students.

Clara LaRue, Features Editor

When asked what their favorite part of school is, most students would say lunch. For the cafeteria workers, though, it’s the most stressful part of their day, especially with the extra workload they have this year due to student lunches being free. The criticism they receive for the quality of the lunch food makes their job even more difficult although they don’t have control over the menu or the quality of the food. Food service assistants need to be recognized for the hard work they do to prepare meals, which includes both breakfast and lunch, for those who don’t bring their own lunch out of over 2,000 students daily. Lunch ladies like Elizabeth Atwater and Dana Martinez provide these meals and explain a little bit about them and what they do in the cafeteria.
“[Students] can show their appreciation by just letting everyone know that they like the food or saying thank you. You know, just telling us we’re doing a great job,” Dana Martinez said.
“It’s a really hard job right now, we’re feeding 400 more [students] than we usually do in a regular school year, so just telling us thank you and please is all we really need.”
Considering this, students should be doing all that they can to help make their jobs easier.
“Being a little quieter coming through the lines so that we can understand when kids are ordering stuff because sometimes it’s so noisy we have to keep asking them to repeat,” Elizabeth Atwater, who has been at West for six years, said.
With a six-hour workday of cooking, dealing with students, and cleaning, the cafeteria workers work so hard to make nutritious and tasty meals without being given much in return. They do it for the kids, though, and helping them is reward enough.
“My favorite part of my job is interacting with the kids,” Atwater said.
Even though they cook all day, they find time after school to enjoy making meals they love.
“My favorite thing to cook at home is probably spaghetti. It’s an outlet for my stress and anxiety. I go home, I cook, it just kind of helps me digest my day,” Martinez said.
Next time you walk through the cafeteria, remember to do your part in appreciating the cafeteria workers and telling them please and thank you.