MATTHEWS NC, – Leaving class with your stomach rumbling, you rush past other students, focused on trying to get first in line for lunch. At the front of the line, you grab your food and speed through the process not even noticing the smiling faces behind the counter.
Rewind the scene, but this time pause for a moment and take a second to look up before you grab your food and rush off. You’ll see some wonderful people who serve you, and the rest of the student body, lunch every day.
Chef Lance has worked at Carmel for three years and, like Sharina, his favorite thing about working here is the people and the feeling of community. When asked what he felt people don’t know about his job he said, “People don’t always understand the organization of it all and how much goes into working in the kitchen.”
Sharina Springs has worked at Carmel for five years. She says her, “favorite part about working at Carmel is the students.” Sharina loves being able to get to know the students and to build relationships with them through lunch.
Also on staff in the kitchen is Ms. Shawnda. Ms. Shawnda has worked at Carmel for two years and her favorite part about working here is “serving the kids.” One of the things Ms. Shawnda says people might not understand about her job is that “It can be stressful if I don’t have what the kids want.”
New to the lunch staff this year, Carmel welcomes Deeq to the kitchen. She has been here since August and also enjoys “interacting with kids and faculty.” Deeq says that people don’t realize “the amount of patience it takes and the preparation it takes to get everything ready for lunch.” She also says that the “food is pretty much produced by about four people” which keeps them really busy in the kitchen.
Another new face in the Carmel kitchen is Montae. After being here just a little over two months, he has already noticed that Carmel “is a community [and] a very friendly [place].” Through his experience in the kitchen, he has learned that “There’s a lot of calculating in the kitchen when it comes to dealing with allergies and preferences,” and he’s learned to “accept that everyone won’t like what you cook” and to be okay with that.
Brian is also new to the kitchen staff this year, starting a little over a month ago. Like the other staff members, his favorite part about working here is “the people and the interactions with the kids.”
As you can probably tell, the people who work so hard to prepare your lunch every day love working here, but it isn’t the school, or their job, or the money that makes them love the work. It’s you. It’s the students that drive them to come to work every day because they love spending time with you and building relationships.
So next time you see them, introduce yourself, say hi, or even, I dare you, say thank you!