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Everyday heroes: HCS Nutrition team

During this time of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have seen many people become everyday heroes. This includes healthcare workers, first responders, truck drivers, childcare workers and grocery store clerks to name just a few. At Haywood County Schools we have our own set of heroes, our food service workers, who are tirelessly working to provide lunches and breakfasts daily for our students. The Food Service Department has distributed over 60,000 meals since schools have been closed with the help of district administration, members of the bus department and our school resource officers who have volunteered their time.

“From the time Haywood County Schools were approved to provide meals for our students, the school nutrition department was on go and ready to serve.  We are thankful for a group of employees who are committed to meeting the needs of our children in Haywood County.  Our school nutrition team are real heroes in our community.” Joey Hassell, Superintendent.

“I’m so proud of my staff who are on the front lines of this crisis. They are putting themselves at risk to make sure our kids are fed.” Denita Baxter, School Nutrition Director.

The meals are being prepared at Haywood High School and Haywood Middle School. We have 16 sites where meals are distributed. We distribute the “grab & go” meals on Tuesdays and Fridays. Students receive a total of 7 lunches and 7 breakfasts between these 2 days. Our meal counts are increasing daily. We are now serving almost 50% of our student population.

We have always served lots of meals every day, but not in the way we are serving them now. The workers individually wrap sandwiches, cup fruits and vegetables, then bag and pack everything to get it on the buses to deliver to the students around the county. Despite substantial food shortages, we have been able to provide a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for the students.

Recently Ms. Karen Jones with UT Extension made masks for my staff. They were happy to get them and this helped boost their morale to know that people do appreciate the hard work they are doing to provide nutritious meals for our students.

Please join me in thanking these “school lunch heroes” for their service to the children and families of Haywood County.


Pictured Front Row: Mary Bershires, Phyllis Jeter, Willie Carter, Rhyshalle Tyus, Collette Perry, Deborah Newbern, Jackie Stocking, Alice Pattat Back Row: Leare Bond, Cynthia Turner, Peggy Hinsley, Takelia Griggs, Felicia Jarrett, Kathy Waddell, Loretta Clark, Karen Jones (UT Extension), Sharon Jarrett, Janie Leach


Pictured: Brenda Parker, Verndell Stitts, Hattie Rivers, Carolyn Cooper, Barbara Hayes, Cresandra Springfield, Mamie Watson, Laura Davis, Angela Jeter, Diane Lanier, Terrion Cooper, Karen Jones (UT Extension), Adrian Muex, Sharon Waddell, Joyce Sharp
Not pictured: Sandra Williamson, Chris Shaw, Deborah Byrum (School Nutrition Bookkeeper), Annette Blair (School Nutrition Clerk)