Posted: Monday, October 12, 2015
“I love that Greenville County focuses on serving children a delicious meal and they want you to give students exceptional service, greet each child by name, and make them feel special every day. It’s important to give them that moment of, ‘we love you,’” said Amanda Gass, assistant food service manager at Sevier Middle School.
Greenville County Schools is celebrating National School Lunch Week October 12-16 to recognize the 750 food service operators serving 15,500 breakfasts and 53,500 lunches each day to students in 100 locations across Greenville County.
Amanda Gass is an assistant food service manager at Sevier Middle School. She has worked in food service most of her life and loves the job. “I love being able to serve people and see the satisfaction on their faces when they’ve been given good service,” she said.
She knows her role in the school is critical, because food service employees are among the few staff members that have direct contact with every student, every day. One student is particularly special to Amanda. “We have a special needs student who comes up to me every single day and asks me for four packs of saltine crackers. He wants to give us hugs and tell us that we’re beautiful. Every day he says something encouraging and it just lights our day up,” she said with a smile.
“Amanda has been an awesome asset. She’s done an amazing job,” said Carmen Mitchell, food service manager. “She has a great personality and is a great motivator. Even though she just started with us this year, you can see her connecting with the students, learning their names and developing that one-on-one with them.”
Serving children is personal for Amanda outside of school, too. She lost her sister two years ago in a car accident. Before her sister died, she was involved in a church program called Celebrate Recovery. “It really changed her life,” said Amanda. “She wanted to share with people the life change that had been given to her. So in order to continue her legacy, I got involved and I work with the children’s ministry for Celebrate Recovery.”
Greenville County students are eating healthier lunches, thanks to the Culinary Creations program in every elementary, middle and high school offering healthier entrée choices, made from scratch dishes, and a generous selection on fresh fruits and vegetables. For example, students may choose from baked penne pasta with meatballs or turkey pot roast, along with fresh vegetables from the Vegetation Station and a bowl of homemade tomato basil soup.
“Our menus have been deemed one of the healthiest in the nation and have been recognized with a Golden Carrot Award from the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine,” said Director of Food and Nutrition Services Joe Urban. “I am extremely proud of our accomplishments. But most of all, I am proud of the 750 food services staff members who have answered the call for more nutritious meals. They are committed to serving healthy, well prepared meals in a safe and sanitary environment each and every day.”
Research shows that children who have healthy diets and get regular physical activity are more likely to perform better academically. These healthy habits may also play a role in helping children improve concentration, attendance, classroom behavior, and self-esteem, and lower obesity rates.
Food and Nutrition Services Facts
- 750 Food Service Operators
- 53,500 Lunches Served Daily
- 15,500 Breakfasts Served Daily
- 50% of Students on Free/Reduced Price Lunch
- 100 Food Service Operations
- 18 Central Office Food Service Staff
- 10 State and National Awards for Food Service