Some of us have trouble getting supper on the table. Often overlooked, nutrition workers prepare two meals daily for hundreds of students. And they have to make each meal fit standards set for nutrition, food safety and ensure the food is ready on time.
Dozens of dedicated people work every day to make sure that the students under their care are fed, yet two in particular stand out within the Manchester School System specifically for their dedication.
The choice to honor one was such a difficult task when she was approached by the Times, Director of Nutrition Dana Morris asked for two.
“Both Debra Hall and Linda Forrester work in the Manchester City Schools Nutrition Department. From the first moment of the COVID shut down of MCS schools on March 13, 2020, Debra Hall and Linda Forrester worked with teacher volunteers from every school to ensure that children never went hungry,” Morris said.
Hall, the cafeteria manager at Westwood Elementary School Eagle Café, has been with the school system since 2009. She manages the staff that prepares the food, plus keeps required detailed records relating to the operation of the café, orders food and serves breakfast and lunch to students each school day.
Westwood Elementary School Principal Rebecca Welch said that that Hall is crucial to the education of the students.
“This year, the mantra for Westwood Elementary School is: We didn't wake up to be average. Time and again, whether we have been in school, hybrid, or distance learning, Deb Hall has gone above and beyond to ensure that ALL of the students at WES had breakfast and lunch every day.”
Welch explained, “This meant coming in early, staying late, and carefully placing orders so that food would arrive in a timely manner and that nothing would be wasted. She is also willing to lend a hand when needed to the other schools within our district, even at a moment's notice. We are grateful that Deb is our cafeteria manager and recognize that she NEVER wakes up to be average!”
Linda Forrester at Westwood Middle School is equally as dedicated to the welfare of her students.
She has worked at MCS since 2009. She is skilled in all areas required to produce food for over 400 students each day and enjoys the students that she serves each day.
Westwood Middle School Principal Julie Miller said that Forrester stands out for her dedication, especially when the school shut down in the spring.
“WMS is very thankful for the dedication and numerous hours that Linda Forrester provided to our Manchester City Schools families during the previous COVID shut-down,” Miller said.
“Ms. Forrester is a hard-worker that sets personal goals to the highest level. She has a love for the students at WMS and wants to ensure that each child is always fed on a daily basis,” she said.
Millers added that Forrester is a “wonderful employee that puts her heart into everything she does while performing her duties in the cafeteria. WMS is blessed to have Ms. Forrester as a member of our staff.”