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Bozeman school lunch staff work together to handout free student lunches

Lunch ladies across Gallatin County teaming up amid COVID-19 concerns, helping kids get food
Posted at 8:28 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 22:28:53-04

BOZEMAN — With students out of school, that means they miss the lunch that schools provide for them.

For many, that makes all the difference.

Lunch ladies are stepping up to make sure kids still get food, whether they are students or not.

“Lunch is an incredibly important part of any student’s school day and that’s what lunch ladies across Gallatin County know very well, including at Bozeman High.

They are taking it upon themselves to make sure everyone gets lunch.

“It’s exciting,” says Michelle Herzog, production manager at Bozeman Public Schools. “It’s exciting to get to be one of the helpers, to be able to get to go to work."

Every student looks forward to lunch.

That doesn’t go unnoticed by lunch ladies like Michelle Herzog and cook and chill tech Caprice McMahan.

“It’s exciting to see the little kids because I think it’s the normalcy for them of getting to come and get school lunch,” Herzog says.

“They are always so gracious,” McMahan says. “The parents have been gracious. It gives me that workout.”

That workout comes from the new way of doing things.

Every serving day, they tie up their aprons, sanitize their hands, glove up and go.

That’s each Monday, each Wednesday and each Friday.

“We usually build around 700 to hand out every other day,” Herzog says. “Each bag includes breakfast and lunch.”

...Careful to sanitize and re-glove up between each hand-off.

“A lot of parents bring the kids and that’s their daily outing, their only outing so the kids get to go for a car ride and see us,” Herzog says. “They’ve made us pictures.”

Each meal is free and not just for students.

Teaming up with HRDC, Bozeman school staff hand out lunches to other kids young enough to get them, even if they aren’t enrolled.

No questions asked.

“It’s amazing,” McMahan says. “It’s good to feel the positive, that we’re part of something big.”

That’s why Caprice says they do it.

Not for their normal pay, but to make a difference -- bag after bag.

"There’s things that when you are behind the lines, behind the counter, behind the students everyday that you don’t get to hear that we actually get to hear now,” Herzog says. “There’s always somebody willing to help.”

Those working to hand out the meals are careful in more ways, loading the food, themselves, into your trunk or leaving it in a box so parents can pick up the food while still following the rules.