Appetizing Change On The Way For St. Martin Schools - - The News for South Mississippi

Appetizing Change On The Way For St. Martin Schools

"This was our holding refrigerator, and we divided it into three sections," said Leta Robbins as she opened the huge steel doors.

Robbins knows exactly what it's like to have too many cooks in the kitchen.

"We had to share the freezer and the cooler, and there was three of us.  It was quite tight," Robbins said.

Robbins is the Cafeteria Manager for St. Martin Upper Elementary.  After losing her cafeteria to Katrina last year, Robbins had to share the kitchen at St. Martin High School with two other crews.

"Crazy, crazy days," Robbins said. "Especially if something broke down, it would be real crazy.  But we did it."

It was especially tough for the students, who had to rotate time in the lunch room. They also had to walk or be bussed back and forth between the cafeteria and their portable classrooms. But that will change this year. Portable buildings just arrived and will become the new St. Martin Upper Elementary cafeteria. Another cafeteria for St. Martin Middle School is on the way.

"We're really optimistic it won't be too many days after school starts, when they'll be able to sit down in their own cafeteria," said Dr. Barry Amacker, the St. Martin Assistant Superintendent.

"We're excited," said Robbins. "Can't wait to move in. Can't wait for our kids not being on busses and hauling them this place and that place and changing up schedules.  It's rough on them."

While Robbins will still have to cook at the high school, at least the children will have their own space, and they can say 'goodbye' to cold breakfast dishes.

"We killed them with pop tarts and cereal," said Robbins with a laugh.

And they can say 'hello' to hot morning meals once again.

"Sausage biscuits is the main thing they're waiting for," said Robbins. "Later on, we might try grits."

The cafeteria at St. Martin Upper Elementary is supposed to be finished by the first day of school - August 4th. The one for St. Martin Middle School should be ready a week later. FEMA is paying for both cafeterias.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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