Lunch ladies: Women behind the meal

From left to right: Jackie Hazen, Lisa Bongers, Aimee Scribner, Monica Marushak, Kathleen Sedlak, Lynn Styskal, Carmen Broman. Not pictured: Judy Zegers.

Madisen Paulson

Behind all of the cafeteria chaos are eight committed women who prepare and plan all of the David City Elementary, Middle School, and High School lunches.

The staff includes: Lisa Bongers: nine years, Lynn Styskal: three years, Carmen Broman: 11 years, Aimee Scribner: four years, Kathleen Sedlak: four years, Monica Marushak: five years, Jackie Hazen: two years, Judy Zegers: 10 years, and Margaret Kloke as a sub for one year.

Along with all of the hard work comes dedication. Styskal is the main boss of the lunch staff, and she puts the menus together by a six week rotation. When winter comes around she adds the soups, and during Lent, she makes sure to add fish as an option on Friday’s.

Taking a job as a lunch lady means being on your feet from 6 a.m. to around 2 p.m. when everything is cleaned up and ready for the next day.

“This job is always go, go, go. It definitely keeps you on your toes,” Scribner said. “But I wouldn’t give it up; I get to see my kids everyday and see all of their friends.”

Most may not realize how much work the lunch ladies put into making the food everyday. Although, while they are making it, they are also learning about new nutritional facts, recipes, and even bonding with the other ladies who work in the cafeteria.

“I learn a lot of different recipes, and I enjoy my job,” Marushak said. “I love being with the kids and seeing all of the new faces and seeing everyone grow up through the years.”

Students have the option of choosing milk or water with each meal. The cafeteria staff also has a salad bar setup with different fruits and vegetables to choose from. They make sure that every student grabs at least one or two healthier foods along with their meal. Not only do they make sure students are getting fruits and vegetables, they also have to make sure the salad bar doesn’t run low by checking and refilling it frequently.

There are more than 500 students in the high school, middle school, and elementary school, that means cleaning all 500 of the trays each day.

Patience is also another quality that lunch ladies need to have. There are some meals that are better than others, but they are always different. Students shouldn’t complain and realize how much time it took them to prepare the food. They have a lot of pressure on themselves since they have to feed so many students and even the teachers on occasion. The staff has to make sure that the proportions are correct and also rely on the lunch count from the teachers to be correct.

Lunch menus may be the same almost every year, but the cafeteria staff is always looking for new ideas.

“We are always looking for new ideas. Suggestions are always welcome,” Styskal said. “As long as it is possible, we will always try to give you what you want.”