Lunch Ladies at Liberty

There are many underrated staff members at Liberty but none as much as the schools hard working lunchtime staff.

Sharron+Meyers%2C+Libertys+cafeteria+manager%2C+in+her+office+at+the+school.

Leela Strand

Sharron Meyers, Liberty’s cafeteria manager, in her office at the school.

“Lunch ladies”. They are frequent characters in movies about high school, often portrayed either as sweet friends of students, or as bitter characters. 

“We are not all the mean old lunch lady stereotype,” said Sharron Meyers, the cafeteria manager at Liberty, laughing.

Meyers has worked in the ICCSD district in various positions before taking a job at Liberty. 

“I have worked in the district for 15 years… I have worked at North Central and North West in the past,” she said. 

Many of the cafeteria staff at Liberty have worked in the field for a very long time. Elizabeth Jenkins, food service assistant and Laura Schneider, head salad bar manager, have both worked in the field for over ten years. All of the staff find joy in different aspects of their jobs.

Jenkins spoke of her love for her coworkers, “I would honestly say my favorite part of my job is the group of people I work with. It’s really a great group… and the kids, most of the time,” reflected Jenkins, laughing.

Meyers also spoke on one of her favorite things about working at Liberty.

“I love seeing all the kids grow from their freshman years, when they’re shy and unsure of themselves, into near adults, their senior years… A lot of them will go through the same lunch lines every day so you get to know them a little better,” said Meyers.

The cafeteria staff have really built a community. This is something Meyers strives for. 

“I love the staff. My least favorite part of my job is having to act as a disciplinary,” she said. 

This is exemplified by Meyers’ office, where she displays various gifts from her employees, notably many pig figurines, stuffed animals, and paintings. 

Sharron Meyers office with her many gifts she’s received from coworkers and students. (Leela Strand)

“I collect pigs… Once the staff found out they started gifting me pigs for all the holidays… One of my old bosses collected pigs so that’s how I picked up the hobby,” says Meyers. 

Meyers is always trying to find ways to improve the cafeteria environment and workflow. Each summer she attends the School Nutrition Association of Iowa Conference, where cafeteria managers from around the state meet to bounce ideas off each other, discuss ways to better their cafeteria, and spend time together. 

“It’s always a great time and it’s nice to hear how others manage their cafeterias”, says Meyers. 

Unknown to many Liberty students, the Liberty cafeteria provides all school meals to four elementary schools in addition to Liberty, Van Allen, Penn, Grant, and Garner Elementaries. 

“I had no idea they did all of that,” said Ridley Hazeltine, sophomore. 

Preparing all that food requires 16 staff members. However, for Meyers, it is manageable. 

“Northwest [where Meyers worked last] used to make food for nine elementary schools in addition to Northwest, so for me [making food for] four [elementary schools] doesn’t seem too bad,” said Meyers.

Meyers hopes the kids at Liberty feel like they can ask the cafeteria staff for help, and know the staff is there for them. 

“Be courteous to your servers in the lunch line and your fellow students… and don’t be afraid to ask your server if you have any questions, we’re here to help… I may look mean but I’m not,” said Meyers, speaking to Liberty students.