Summer plans

Summer is just a couple months away. The kids need a break (teachers too). But what am I going to do with the blog? Get ready…

I want be a lunch lady and blog about it.

Oh yes. This idea poses some challenges because school will be out of session. I think there will be limited summer school, but I imagine that the full-time lunch room staff who want to work over the summer pick up those shifts. Or maybe there won’t be summer school at all since there isn’t any money…

So I’ll look for jobs as a lunch lady in whatever school I can find, but I’m also going to look for any jobs where I am serving food to children. Any cafeteria-style jobs where I’m serving food to kids or young adults. And if I can’t get one of those, I’ll work in fast food.

Working in food service is not anything new for me. I worked in the dorm cafeteria in college and I was a waitress over the summer. Not to mention that my husband, Mr. Q himself, worked at Mc*Donalds a very long time ago.

But I’m going to work only part-time. This year has been exhausting as you can imagine. Not to mention I’m going to have to sacrifice much deserved family time AND pay for childcare in the summer, which isn’t in the budget.

Back to foodservice I’ll go. I hope I can find a place where I can wear a uniform; coming home smelling like grease, food, and sweat in my regular clothes in the heat of summer would not be fun.

Here’s the big upside: I can pack a lunch!!

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38 thoughts on “Summer plans

  1. that sounds like an awesome plan! 🙂 would be really interesting to read! (btw, i'm not sure if you have mentioned this before, but do you know if there are any blogs out there written by lunch ladies?)

  2. Maybe a daycare facility? They are always advertising for food help here (in Oklahoma).

    OR, howsabout a food service company that supplies food to schools? Or a meat or dairy company's marketing department to see how they brainwash/strong-arm the schools into providing unhealthy product?

    You could be like a spy-girl…with a hidden camera and such?! That might be a bit more intriguing and a whole lot sexier than a grease-smelling uniform.

    But then there is SOMETHING to be said about the sexiness of those paper hats!

    That Pearl

  3. That sounds exhausting to me. As a fellow teacher, I need my break! It is often spent working on school work anyway. But I applaud you for your dedication. I think I would try to shadow them instead, lol!

  4. i know you don't want to really make a lot of money off your blog, but i would be surprised if you didn't have a contact or two through the blog that you couldn't shake for a lead on summer employment or an internship that would suit you.

    put up a post about it and point-blank ask for what you want. you'll have to give us an area — springfield? chicago? east st. louis? — to work from, but you never know. the answer you get might surprise you.

  5. Many areas have a Summer Food Program. That might be a place to start, but it's sponsored by the USDA, so it's likely not to be that different that what the kids eat during the school year.

  6. To the above commenter, and Mrs Q. as well: fast food/foodservice is a great idea, and I'm impressed that you have the gumption to go after it, I know plenty of teachers that would balk at doing anything outside of the classroom in the summertime. However, the comment about working for one of the larger companies may not be the best idea, as they sometimes require you to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) upon employment, which would prevent any blogging, anonymous or otherwise.

  7. That sounds interesting. I hope it works because I can't wait to read about it. Have you thought about trying to turn your experiences into a book?

  8. That sounds interesting. I hope it works because I can't wait to read about it. Have you thought about trying to turn your experiences into a book?

  9. Sounds like a good plan. I look forward to reading about your summer experiences. Keep up the great work you are doing here.

  10. In our area (Oregon) we have a free lunch program for kids. In posted parks there are free brown-bag lunches for any kid under 18. It is intended to help families who rely on school lunch to feed their kids close that food/money gap during the summer. Predictably, the food is not particularly good. Perhaps a similar program exists where you are?

  11. You could work for a summer children's camp in their cafeteria/food service. I'm happy to say that the summer camp I work for cooks and serves REAL fresh cooked food. And my children get to go to camp for free because I work there.

  12. this is ah-maze-ing! not only are you fully committing to this project, but there is nothing more enlightening (and at time funnier) than working in food.
    i wish you luck.

  13. Why not consider a local hospital? It would be interesting to see what hospitals serve to patients and families that are working on healing and getting better! Good luck and thanks for the great work. This blog is truly inspirational.

  14. I'll cross my fingers for you too! It would be hard to get one of those summer jobs here in my district. Since only a few schools do summer school, the current lunch employees all try for those jobs. Since they don't make as much during the school year, they all really want the few summer jobs. I would think they're less hours and less workload too, although I'm sure the district finds a way to somehow work them to the bone. 🙁

  15. Yikes – you might want to reconsider this – pace yourself.

    You already have worked in this sector right?

    You have also already gotten feed back from lunch ladies who have told you what it is like and how they have ZERO power to affect any change.

    Not sure what this activity would bring to you and your blog other than exhaustion for you and your family.

    Why dont you volunteer at a CSA and learn how to grow organic food and then bring that back this next fall and help your kids get a school garden started. Maybe then next summer you can start a summer school program for teachers and kids to volunteer in local CSAs to dig into growing and delicious food.

    Working anonymously in a kitchen with no power and no appreciation is, as they so well say, an exercise in utter futility.

  16. I'm not sure how it works, but in our community the school food services pairs with the parks services (I think), anyway, they serve free lunch to all the kids in the parks during the summer, adults have to pay $1.

  17. I recommend getting in touch with your local Boys and Girls Club. They run "summer academies" which serve lunch (and dinner, and snacks) through the USDA food program. If they aren't hiring I think they are always taking volunteers.

  18. Mrs Q, come join me at summer camp!
    I worked as a "lunch lady" last summer at Ballibay Camp, we transformed the food from off the truck processed/packaged junk to real food made from scratch. Best of all, we ended up saving money!

    I'm returning this year to expand the garden and create more camper friendly kitchen and garden activities.

    We even made a music video about hummus last year!

    There is NO JUNK at this camp! Yes, we have some great desserts, but they are all homemade.

    come and join us for a week or two!

  19. While I applaud your enthusiasm and dedication to the project, I would ask you to reconsider. You've already sacrificed plenty during the school year.

    As a fellow educator, summer is a time to get ready for the next school year, attend some great professional development, and spend time with family. Didn't you say you have young children? You can't get that time back.

    Maybe you can use this time to take your kids around to local farmers' markets and have them learn about food. Like someone else said, then bring ideas about nutrition and growing a school garden back to your school in the fall.

  20. Oooh sounds interesting. Can you please please please take pictures of what you pack for lunch too? I would love to see what you normally eat. Plus it would give some ideas on what to pack myself for lunch. Thanks!

  21. Good luck with your summer project! I also suggest trying to work in a daycare or at summer camp type thing….I have a friend who used to work at a daycare and it was all just easy prep food that was frozen or from a can. Ick.

    I hope everything goes well with your project!

  22. Mrs. Q, please keep us posted on your Summer plans!

    Best wishes,


  23. I like this idea! I agree with Aimee above about posting what you choose to pack for lunch- that would be interesting. As far as the nay-sayers, I can see their point but it's only part time and only for a summer. Plus, didn't the guest poster lunch lady say it was a really good job because she got to spend time with her kids on their schedule? I guess it depends how old your kids are…

  24. Awesome! Very interested to see how that unfolds. You could always look into a hospital cafeteria.

    I love your blog!! Thank you for doing this. My daughter is not quite school-age but hopefully by the time she starts something will have begun to change and perhaps I can help with the changes!

  25. Have you looked into SFSP to see if there's one in your area? It's a federally funded program that offers free lunches to low-income families.

  26. I worked with a food bank that provided food for kids in the summer through the SFSP program. We had local nutrition students make the menu (following the feds guidelines) and cook the meals. Some were great meals… We only had about 100 kids…. We did a lot of shopping at local stores and sometimes grilled hamburgers on a house hold bbq!

  27. Thanks all! I'm so ready for a break. I'm so tired, but I want to do it. I think it will help me get a deeper understanding of how big organizations feed kids. If you can't beat em, join em!

  28. If you become a lunch lady will you blog the lunches they make every day still? Similarly, if you work in fast food will you be going through and sampling the items on the menu?

  29. I love your blog and what you are doing but what could really be gained from the summer employment? I think you should relax during your well deserved break and enjoy your child/children and let them have some time with you also. That's one of the perks of being a teacher!

  30. You might try a local daycare. All of them have food service programs that require strict standards, however still serve a number of breaded foods.

  31. If you are willing to do it, your school may allow you to volunteer your time, if the regular staff has already asked for the paying jobs. My mother was a lunch lady for 20 plus years, and finally retired. She missed it, and when my nephews started school, she went to their school and now she volunteers in their lunchroom. It's a public school. If you are nervous about being found out, you could try another school.

  32. If you want to spend the summer serving food to kids on a part-time basis you should check a daycare facility. They usually get a good influx of kids in the summer and no staff to counter that. It would be a good way to get an eye on what is another issue to handle.

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