Friday, September 17, 2010

sing it with me--

Sloppy Joe! Sloppy Sloppy Joe!

Good guessing readers! I'm a lunch lady--the volunteer kind at PS. Funny how a week ago I was waxing nostalgic about breakfast waitressing and somehow life has come full circle to that point--I'm back in a kitchen, scooping food onto trays with a smile on my face. The desperate cry for help came home in last week's PS newsletter and I was looking for a way to plug in. Cafeteria duty it is, then.


Green Girl sees the distress call, grabs her spatula and climbs into the Momvan. It's a race against hunger this time. She exchanges superhero cape for an apron and hairnet.

The PS has a unique kitchen--their head cook right now is also the head chef at a very popular local supper club. He's making those meals from scratch back there--fresh-cut honeydew melon and oranges, roasted chickens and hot vegetables seasoned with parsley and diced onions. No one's opening cans, dumping the contents into the microwave for a reheat and slopping it onto a tray. These kids are eating spinach salads, people. No need for Jamie Oliver to save this school!

Twice a week I'm pulling the lunch shift--scrubbing the tables, serving the food, sending the trays and silverware through the dishwasher, sweeping the floors. I work with the cook, CJ, a really, really nice man who has strong opinions about food--like a kind, Midwest version of Jamie Oliver. One day I work with J and the other I work with JV, fellow moms, who connect me to this new community (we don't attend the Catholic church affiliated with PS, so I'm trying my best not to feel like an outsider). I work both days with SG, this gorgeous grandma with cheekbones that make me swoon--she sits and eats with her grandkids after everyone gets served and then joins us later to help clean up. And I've met Jack, a spry elderly man who wears pressed flannel shirts and a friendly grin. Jack runs the dishwasher and helps CJ prep the food a few times a week. The kitchen is warm (read: blistering hot like a sauna) and full of friendly chatter and good smells. We have whatever's left after the kids and staff eat for our own lunch--so I guess this gig isn't entirely without pay.

Mr. T's comment on this turn of events: "I've never seen my mom wearing a hairnet before."

Trust me, reader. I rock the hairnet. Before I leave you singing along to Lunch Lady Land all day, spill it. What's your volunteer gig?


16 comments:

  1. That's awesome!
    And trust me, as a PS mom that does attend the church affiliated with the school, you are not viewed as an outsider. :)

    That school's lunch program sounds amazing! Lucky kids!

    I look forward to the day when I can volunteer at the kids' school. I think I would like to be a room mom or maybe volunteer to chaperone field trips and whatnot. :)

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  2. i volunteer everyday to be at home with my kids

    that, and visit and garden for elderly and a few injured individuals

    good to see you.....and I bet you rock that hairnet!!

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  3. I love it...I LOVE IT!!

    I'm sure this doesn't count as true "volunteering" since there isn't service involved, other than schlepping packages to the post office, but I donate books to the public libraries to sell at their fundraising book sales....

    I really would get a lot more out of REAL volunteering though. I'm going to be thinking about this.

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  4. My volunteer gigs are so... "Mom". Once a week playing with babies at a shelter for children who have been removed from their homes by social services, weekly deliveries to the food pantry, serving with Reach Out Honduras, and once a week helping kids with their homework at an after school program. Funny how doing for others' lovies tends to recharge my energy to meet my own kids' needs.

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  5. What a great lunch room.

    All my volunteering is geared toward water polo these days--I will have to look for something new before too long.

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  6. That sounds like a great way to contribute.

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  7. Oh boy, I would love to volunteer in the school cafeteria with you.

    I haven't figure out my volunteer gig for this year. The PTO at my girls' school isn't as active as the one at their old school, so I'm less aware of what the possibilities are.

    I tend to do a lot of one-time things, like chaperoning field trips, bringing (and serving) snacks to class parties, and things like that.

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  8. As soon as I started reading your post I thought, "Oh, No! She'll have to wear a hairnet!!" Brave mother that you are. Applause for you and your volunteer work!!

    I haven't started anything yet. The elementary school nearest my house won't let volunteers begin until the 2nd month of school. I thought of using my training to work with at-risk readers.

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  9. Are you the lunch lady with the scissors that runs around cutting open Gogurt tubes and bags of Cheetoes for the kids? I liked that lady...

    My volunteer gig? I homeschool. "Teaching my kids, so you don't have to!" ;)

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  10. Welcome to my world, but I'm a paid lunch lady.

    I volunteer with the PTO. I'm the room parent for my first grader's class. I chair the spirit wear committee at their school too. I'm also a Sunday School helper for my 3rd grader's class.

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  11. This sounds like an awesome lunch program! If you have extra tomatoes, you could probably donate. :)

    I used to volunteer at my kiddos' schools before I was hired full time. I sometimes took my personal day to go on field trips with my kids, too. Last year I took a personal day to go to 6 Flags with Amigo and his senior class. Holy Moly the piercings on this busload! Scary. But nice kids.

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  12. Please send the head cook over to our school. I'm not sure why they even have a kitchen ... all they really need are warmers and a microwave for the stuff they give. yuck.

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  13. I WAS volunteering reading with year 3. But volunteering revamping the South Dorset NCT and getting the newsletter up and running is taking up waaay to much time to keep reading at school. Once it's all running smoothly I'll hand over some of the responsibilities to others... they are in training but they don't know it yet!!! I need to cut back on the volunteering over the next 6 months or so, and focus on my own projects!

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  14. I just bet you rock the hairnet! And those lunches sound aweasome.

    I volunteer occasionally at the Mothers' Day Out my children attended and in the library at the school they attend now. We don't get gourmet lunches...

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  15. I too, volunteer in the cafeteria! I looooove it! Only I'm just in the lunchroom passing out straws, opening up go-gurts and bags of chips. I just can't be away from Cubby all day :(

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Spill it, reader.