TOP PHOTO: Vyreda Chapman (back) and Margie Campbell are in action serving lunch on Tuesday at CCHS.

When fully staffed, there are 12 lunch ladies at Campbell High. Currently these eight ladies handle it all. Left to right are Manager Angie Gillum, Rebecca Gibson, Anita Fox, Debbie Skeene, Vyreda Chapman, Margie Campbell, Micaela Combs, Nickie Byrge and School Nutrition Director Jamie Gillum.

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Here, 50-years later, the faces and the names of the lunch ladies at the old La Follette High cafeteria are still floating around in my memories. Betty Carson, Madge Welch and others were there everyday smiling, serving and making sure we were all fed and fed well.

Charlie Hutson and I caught up with the lunch ladies at Campbell High on Tuesday just ahead of lunch time. By the way, lunch was delicious, ladies. Thank you!

This was one of Tuesday’s lunch options. Yum!

Days for the lunch ladies begin in the dark at 5:30am, and from there, it’s like stepping onto a skateboard. They prepare breakfast which is served from 7:30am until 8am. Then they get the the grab-n-go breakfast bags together. Grab-n-go is perfect for the students who come in right at the bell. “It ensures everyone gets fed,” said Jamie Gillum, nutrition director for Campbell County Schools. See Charlie Hutson’s photo gallery HERE.

Just before the lunch rush hit on Tuesday, (left to right) Micaela Combs, Debbie Skeen and Nickie Byrge pause for a photo.

Once breakfast is a wrap, it’s clean up time ahead of getting lunch prepared. The skateboard ride continues. The lunch ladies dig into the meal options and keep rolling. The meals are made from scratch straight off a recipe. Very few prepackaged foods are used. Even the personal size pizzas are individually made.

The pace quickens just after 11am. That’s when the first wave of hungry students and staff start lining up. The extra fast pace runs the better part of two hours until almost 1pm when the last meals are picked up.

Ten years ago, Jamie Gillum began her career in school nutrition as a CCHS Lunch Lady. Now days, Gillum is the director of school nutrition.

Gillum, who herself was a lunch lady for years at Campbell County High School, points out that the lunch ladies wear a smile and make sure to speak to each of their students. “We want to make sure all students are taken care of, feel loved and appreciated. No matter how old you get, you never forget the lunch lady who was nice to you,” echoed by the lunch ladies.

Food bins are full ahead of Tuesday’s lunch.

Though we are featuring the team of eight lunch ladies at CCHS, a similar scene is playing out at the other schools everyday. There are roughly 74 school nutrition employees throughout the county cafeterias.

Once the lunch rush of 850 CCHS students, teachers and staff has made its way through the three different lunch lines, it’s time for the lunch ladies to clean and sanitize. Prepping for the next days breakfast and lunch follows as the lunch ladies keep on making those meals as they etch their place in the minds and hearts of all the lives they touch everyday. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/08/2021-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)