Food is Love
DISTRICT | April 21, 2020
Food is Love

Thanking our Food Service Workers for All They Do

This week, CPS is highlighting its amazing food service workers, custodians, security guards, and nurses who have selflessly served their school communities during the closure. Check our blog for a new story each day. 

Yolanda Beasley, dining manager at Marquette School of Excellence on Chicago’s Southwest Side, estimates that her food service team has a combined total of nearly 200 years of experience. Her own commitment to her profession, having worked in food service for more than 25 years, boils down to one simple mantra: food is love. Thus, she says that continuing to serve her school community by providing meals throughout the closures is a blessing, not a burden. 

“The community shows up for us every single day. The need is there and it’s being met by my awesome staff,” she said. “Helping my school and having a sense of purpose during these times is exactly what I feel I should be doing right now.” 

Food is love.

Ms. Beasley and her team prepare over 3,000 grab-and-go meals every day for any family in the community who needs them—a relatively small yet powerful piece of the total more than six million meals CPS has provided families over the past month. Even though this is a big undertaking, Ms. Beasley says that her team is extremely encouraged to keep pressing on because of the amazing support they receive from everyone at Marquette. Principal Rovel Pollock says that support is gladly reciprocated. 

“Our lunch staff are some of our frontline heroes. Their willingness to go above and beyond for our families is an inspiration to us all,” said Principal Pollock. “The Marquette community will forever be grateful for their commitment and dedication during this challenging time.”

As CPS staff continue to serve meals at more than 250 sites and provide meal deliveries to families across the city, Ms. Beasley knows that these unpredictable circumstances have only elevated her sense of joy for the job she loves. She expects her eventual reunion with her students will embody her core value: being purposeful and kind in every interaction she has with others, no matter how big or small. 

“I always believe in being a model for my team in caring about the work that we do,” she said. “When schools are open again, the love we share with our students by giving them great meals each and every day is going to be on full display.” 

To find the meal site nearest you, please visit cps.edu/mealsites