Teachers Feed Support Staff in Appreciation


Teachers at Redbank Valley demonstrated their appreciation for the secretaries, custodial staff, and cafeteria workers who have been working in the school since the shut down due to COVID-19. Mr. Fricko, an English teacher here at RVHS, said, “We are very grateful for what the secretaries, custodial and cafeteria staff have been doing, so we just wanted to show our appreciation by giving them lunch.”  The teachers took up a collection to provide a catered lunch from Joe’s Pizza. Teachers delivered the catered lunch on Tuesday, April 22.

Redbank Valley secretaries have been working incredibly hard for our school. In addition to their regular duties, they have been calling families to check on internet access and encourage online participation with lessons.   They are creating learning packets for students without internet access and gathering and distributing textbooks and Chromebooks at the main entrance for both students and teachers.  Working both in the building and remotely at home, RV secretaries are maintaining IEP meeting schedules and paperwork.   Likewise, the  custodians have been working tirelessly  every day to make sure the school will be ready to be opened. They have been securing the building to limit those entering to essential staff only.  In addition to their usual daily routine to maintain our buildings and grounds, custodians are also running endless errands to lockers  and classrooms for teachers and students.   Not since the flood of 1996 have our secretaries and custodial staff been called in to action like this.  

As soon as the cafeteria staff was able, they have been working every day to provide breakfast and lunch to any RV student in the area during the pandemic.  It is amazing how many students they have been feeding daily. The average daily feeding is approximately 340 students per day, which includes 2 meals, for an average of 680 meals a day. They have served OVER 400 students several times. “In the first two weeks as our numbers were growing, we averaged 180 children a day, and from April 6 on, we averaged 358 children per day,” said Mr. David Reitz, Redbank Valley School District Cafeteria Manager.   In total, they have served 7148 lunches and 7148 breakfasts.

On a  typical day, the lunch ladies work from 8:00 -12:45. With that said, all of them are in the door well before 8:00 and are already working by the time the clock strikes 8:00.  Students and parents can come and get lunch from Monday – Friday 10:30-12:30 at the main entrance to the high school. Also, there have been several days where some, if not all cafeteria staff, have stayed later than contracted by the district.  As always, they are here to do whatever it takes to get the job done. 

Redbank is very fortunate to have the lunch ladies we do. Instead of coming in and preparing to serve meals in the traditional cafeteria setting, they are coming in and packaging meals up to be handed out in a “grab and drive away” style, which may not sound difficult when you first think about it, but you have to open and stand up all those paper bags, put napkins and spoons in each one, and then go through with the food items that are to be served that day. 

Reitz said,  “It’s actually a lot more time consuming that I ever thought it would be before we started.  Plus, they (cafeteria staff) now have to wrap up each entree that is going to go out, as opposed to just serving it on a tray.  With only so many vegetable options that are able to be served in the ‘grab and drive away’ setting, there is a lot of washing, cutting and bagging fresh veggies.  Milk coolers need filled and rolled down the hall and lots of trips with carts full of bagged lunches are made each day.  In some ways it’s similar, but in so many other ways it is very different.  We’ve transformed the cafeteria into our “war room” with cases of food, cereal, condiment packets, gloves, chips, and fruit.   Cafeteria tables are filled with paper bags in various stages of being filled and doesn’t even look like a place to sit and eat anymore.”

One of Mr. Reitz’s staff commented, “You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who came through and thanked us and told us how much they appreciated what we are doing.”  He also said, “I’ve had parents, teachers, and other community members call and offer to help if we would ever need them.”  Riverside, Dollar General and Burger King were very helpful with supplies to get this going when they first started, all three donating supplies that would be needed to make it all happen.  On one of the cold days, a car pulled up with coffee and hot chocolate for the ladies.  They weren’t even there for meals; just wanted to drop off a hot drink.  Others have bought donuts, sent in pizza, and  Char-Val Candies even donated a bunch of their foil wrapped candy for us to pass out to the children as a treat, which the staff thought was really nice.  The support and appreciation has been amazing.”

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