When most schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville announced in November they would pivot from in-person learning to remote instruction through the holidays, the cafeteria staff at St. Agnes School found a creative way to use their time and resources.
The cafeteria staff, led by Pam Amon, cafeteria manager, pitched the idea of providing family-style meals to school families.
“It’s a win-win-win situation. It helps the cafeteria, helps employees and helps the parents,” Amon said in a phone interview last week.
For the past few weeks, the staff have offered meals for purchase two days a week, the same two days families are scheduled to pick up and drop off school assignments. The offerings have included pork tenderloin, manicotti, white chicken chili and the school’s popular hot brown casserole.
Julie Daly, St. Agnes principal, said the cafeteria staff’s “innovation and creativity” has served as a way to “ease the burden of families and staff and to use already-purchased food items and ingredients, supplement the cafeteria budget and offer a way for cafeteria employees to continue working.”
Five people work in the cafeteria — three full-time and two part-time.
Families are invited to place orders online through Google Forms. Prices range from $30-35 for meals that serve two to four people; $40-45 for four to six servings; and $50 to $55 for six to eight servings.
The first week the cafeteria offered the service, the workers had about 50 to 55 orders. That quickly doubled the subsequent two weeks, Amon said.
The meals are limited for purchase by parish families because of staff and space constraints, but Amon said she’s heard of other Catholic schools considering a similar option.
Amon said the staff have had a lot of fun preparing the meals, but they miss seeing the school children on a daily basis.
“We miss seeing the kids. This school year has been totally different; we miss seeing their little faces,” she said. “And, we miss all the special celebrations, like grandparent lunches in the cafeteria.”