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Hillsborough students thank cafeteria workers on School Lunch Hero Day

Kids waved signs and cards for lunch workers at schools all over the county while picking up meals for the week.
Credit: Hillsborough County Schools

BRANDON, Fla. — Hillsborough County surpassed a milestone marker Wednesday morning by passing out its three millionth meal to students since closing the doors to schools due to coronavirus.

To celebrate, the county threw a little appreciation party for all of the workers charged with keeping students fed while separated.

Wednesday was School Lunch Hero Day.

“Today was a time for (students) to shower our people that come out every day and that’s our cafeteria workers,” said Dante Jones, the principal at Mann Middle School in Brandon. “They were able to let them know how much they appreciate them personally today.

“It was definitely a fun day.”

Families pulled through the grab-and-go pickup lines for their food with signs and cards draped out of car windows. The messages of thanks greeted the lunch staffs as they delivered the meals. Some even wore superhero shirts and capes.

“We know that many of our kids are unfortunately not going to homes where they get three square meals a day and parents aren’t used to feeding kids breakfast and lunch during this time of the year,” explained Jones. “You know, they might give them dinner when they get home that night but when it comes to truly feeding them these three meals, this is a great service.”

The Hillsborough County meal staffs began offering meals available for pick-up the week after spring break. School closures were statewide at that point. Breakfast and lunch have been served to thousands of children in that time.  

The three million meal figure was calculated by tallying breakfast and lunch as separate meals for each child under 18 who picks up food from a Hillsborough County school. The district gives children meals for five days on Wednesdays. 

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