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Meet the "Lunch Ladies"

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By Ada Lang

The cafeteria ladies at Cedar Key School may be the some of the proudest ladies you have never met. 

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Now's your chance to find out a little more about who's making sure children and grandchildren are well fed.

The school cafeteria and kitchen are spotless, roomy and well organized. Each area has a purpose - food prep, baking, cooking or dishwashing. The ladies proudly work together, and apart, treating the children as if they were their own. 

Arriving at the crack of dawn, Cafeteria Manager Cheryl Allen is in charge of not only coordinating all the meals, but also that the food orders are placed, that the food arrives and that the cooks (who also double as servers) are working without a glitch. She also helps young students master the mystery of the school cafeteria and generally ensures that there is order in the lunch room at all times.

She has worked for the Levy County Schools for 17 years, serving Cedar Key for the past five years. She arrives at school at 6 a.m. daily to cook and serve breakfast and makes sure her uniforms are pressed before work. 

Nancy Pelham is starting her fourth year in the school's cafeteria and laughed about her boss’s penchant for pressed uniforms, pointing to her own, which was wrinkled. But Pelham is proud she has the recipes for the school’s famous yeast rolls memorized, after making so many of them over the years.

Cathy Polk has been a cafeteria lady for 14 years and works during the summer making sure that youngsters in the summer program have good food to eat. 

Last, Adrian Alford rounds out the cafeteria lady team and was in charge of making homemade meat sauce, in a cook pot big enough to feed an army, to go over spaghetti for the first day of school.

The army showed up right on time, at 11 a.m., and the cafeteria was a scene of orderly chaos as friends reunited and the safety patrolers made sure everyone was safe. And without a doubt, nobody left hungry.