Sunday, July 14, 2024


Signs prepared for cafeteria staff appreciation days at four Cambridge schools.

One of many signs prepared for cafeteria staff appreciation days at four Cambridge schools.

While there’s cause for skepticism about Cambridge being awarded “best food” in U.S. high schools – it’s based on the votes of a whole 29 enthusiastic Cantabrigians – it’s undeniable there’s lots of love being shown for the city’s school lunch program.

Four public schools are holding cafeteria staff appreciation days, with two down (the Morse School on Jan. 26 and King Open last week) and, thanks to snow days that disrupted schedules districtwide, two to go:  The Vassal Lane Upper School holds its appreciation day Wednesday, and the Maria L. Baldwin School is set for a Thursday event.

Celebrations for cafeteria staff, many of whom have been working in the city for several decades,  are to take place throughout lunch. Each staff member gets a poster about themselves, and students sign aprons that get presented to staff with handwritten thank-you notes at the end. The celebration at the Morse School was to be especially festive, with a cafeteria filled with balloons and kids presenting cards in the shape of pizza and macaroni, said Annabel Raby, who works with CitySprouts as a service member of FoodCorps, an AmeriCorps partner with a focus on healthy food.

CitySprouts, which helps local schools create gardens in their schoolyards, is taking part in the celebrations.

“Thus far the event has been incredibly heartwarming. Students have been very excited to get involved and learn more about who makes their food. It has been an important way to appreciate not only the hardworking staff, but also the incredibly delicious, nutritious and multicultural food CPS serves every day,” Raby said.

While the “best food” survey got Cambridge Public Schools some good press from a credulous WCVB-TV last month, more legitimate and equally positive coverage came from The Boston Globe in a Jan. 20 story highlighting Cambridge’s work as part of the “Farm-to-School” movement.