WASHINGTON N.C. (WNCT) — It’s one of the most important meals of the day, especially for a child. This week is National School Lunch week and is an opportunity to highlight those who work behind the scenes.
Beaufort County’s school system serves more than 4,000 breakfasts and 6,000 lunches daily. It’s all due to the C.E.P. program, which allows students to eat free while at school.
During National School Lunch Week, cafeteria staff are recognized for their day to day efforts.
One of the most important meals of the day is served inside Eastern Elementary School by some of Beaufort County’s best.
It’s a week full of opportunities for the cafeteria staff, including Russell Gibson who is a child nutritionist at the school.
“It starts when (the students) come here,” said Gibson. “They don’t see the teachers most of the time first. It’s usually us first.”
Gibson knows he is making a difference.
“You never know if they’re going to eat again after they leave here,” said Gibson. “I feel good and confident knowing that I did my job feeding them before they get home and while they’re here through the day.”
For other staff members, like Jessica Albritton, the job is more than just putting food on a plate.
“Once they get back in their classroom, they can concentrate because they’re full,” said Albritton. “They’re not going to class hungry. They have the opportunity to operate on a full stomach.”
An opportunity to fill the stomachs of the future is one goal nutritional leader Gwyn Roberson-McBride said is vital.
“We try to put a little pep in their step, and we try to speak to them,” said McBride. “If they’re feeling down, we try to pep up their spirits, feed them a nutritious meal and send them to class with their stomach full and ready to learn.”
The goal is to make life easier for the leaders of tomorrow.
“I feel like I do a good job doing it,” said Gibson. “They feel happy; they look happy,”