On a chilly Thursday morning, the students at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, TN  asked the entire Pedestal Foods team to join them at Mass. Everyone from line cooks to Chef Managers were called to the front of the congregation, and the Headmaster told a story about how one student wanted to do something nice for the “cafeteria staff.”  

 The student told the Headmaster that she knew the 2020-2021 school year had been really tough on everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it had been especially challenging for the foodservice team. She knew they’d jumped through countless hoops and hurdles—some she knew of, and many she didn’t—to continue to serve great food, safely.  She recognized that as hourly employees, missing days due to virtual learning had a financial impact. She wanted to thank them for their hard work and help ease the burden of lost work days.  

 The headmaster suggested that the student write a letter to the students and parents, and promised to send it out to the Notre Dame community. She did, he did, and the entire Notre Dame family responded.

 That morning at Mass, the entire auditorium erupted into cheers as each member of the Pedestal Foods team was thanked, and handed an envelope by the student leading the charge.  

 Each team member was given a heartfelt letter and $150 in cash, all raised by students, staff and parents who wanted to reach out and let them know how much they were appreciated.  

 For one of our employees, extra cash meant she could stop at the electric company on her way home and pay her past due bill.  She had been so worried about it that she almost asked her manager if she could borrow some money.  God was watching out for her. He reached out in His own way, through that student, at just the right time to put His arms around her and take away that fear.  She was truly grateful. 

These are the stories that make us grateful for our school communities. These moments are proof that when we arrive on campus, we don’t just run the food service operations; we dig in, reach out, and become part of the family—and it feels so good to be reminded that the students and staff know us by name the same way we know theirs. 

 We’re a proud part of the beautiful Notre Dame community, and we’re also part of God’s big family. We’re grateful to be both. 

 Who are you thankful for today? How can you show them?