For 12 Graham Middle School cafeteria workers each and every day starts at the crack of dawn.
"We get here at 6 o'clock in the morning. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of time, several hours to count and pack every bag. It takes quite a while," Food Services, Cafeteria Worker, Natalie Creasy said.
"They wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning and say 'good morning' and they are happy and cheerful. I am very impressed with how hard they work and the hustle that I see every-time that I come to a distribution center every Monday. To get up at 6 a.m. and have a smile on your face and to be excited to take care of the students, that's what it's about," Director of Public Relations, and Communication Instructor, Lindsey Akers said.
Cafeteria workers in Tazewell County and throughout the nation have suddenly found themselves on the front lines in the pandemic.
"I feel like they are on the frontlines for our students to make sure that they are getting fed each and everyday throughout the week. When they finish distributing the meals today, these workers, our cafeteria workers are going to be coming back to work on next week's meals, and I just think that's so inspirational," Akers said.
There are 4 distribution locations to prep food for Tazewell County students, with 20,000 meals going out each week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic meals that are prepped are usually pre-cooked and packaged to ensure that each child has a breakfast and a lunch for five days.
"What more could we ask for out of our staff? Then to just have a positive attitude and I think that's what we need to have during times like this, a positive attitude so that the children see that no matter what we're going to be there for them. Things might be a little different in challenging times but we're still going to take care of them and they're are still going to be put first. I give kudos to our cafeteria workers for the job well done," Akers added.