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Meals with a Message: Cooks write messages to students


Photos from Betty Jenkins

SALYERSVILLE – As school district employees countywide continue to go above and beyond to prepare and deliver over 2,000 meals to students during this extended time off, a group of school cooks are writing special notes to the students to let them know they are missed.

“When the children come through the line during school days, we always try to have a conversation with each of them,” Betty Jenkins, a cook at Salyersville Grade School, told the Independent. “Even if it's just a word or two to make them smile. So, we sent these bags as a way of letting them know we are thinking of them.”

A group of seven cooks, including Kendra Gamble, Savannah Howard, Betty Jenkins, Sherri Russell, Della Howard, Jessica Fletcher and Sandy Howard, take time out during their lunch breaks to write on each of the brown paper bags for the students.

“Most of it is things that we say to them every day,” Jenkins said. “We always try to get a smile out of them. We even sing songs to them sometimes.”

The bags, adorned with handwritten phrases such as, “Today is your day!”, “Don't worry. Be Happy!” and “You are one smart cookie,” and signed, “SGS Cooks,” made it to over 600 students on Tuesday, complete with printed off Bible quotes slipped into each bag.

“We want everyone in the county to know that we can get through this together,” Jenkins said. “And just to let our kids know that we are thinking of them and praying for them. We can't wait to see you, again.”

Right now, around 21 buses are running two routes each day to deliver the meals to students' homes every weekday, including a lunch and a non-perishable breakfast in each bag. Family Resource and Youth Service Centers from each school in the county are continuing to fill the individual needs of students and teachers are meeting with their students virtually to keep everyone engaged and on schedule. State officials are reporting they will decide very soon how to proceed for the rest of the school year, but it is likely students will not be back in the classroom this year.


Heather Oney

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