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Pay It Forward: IDEA Rundberg principal awarded after giving cafeteria staff well-deserved thank you

The principal at IDEA Rundberg is showing his appreciation for their cafeteria staff.

AUSTIN, Texas — It's summertime! Kids get to sleep in and they get a break from distance learning. But many students still rely on school meals. The principal at IDEA Rundberg is showing his appreciation for their cafeteria staff. 

The halls of IDEA Rundberg were quiet, long before the last official day of class. But while teachers and students stayed home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, cafeteria workers were still reporting for duty.

"A lot was asked of our cafeteria staff to keep feeding our kids, keep giving meals to our community and just keep things as normalized as possible," said Miles Diaz, a life skills teacher. 

Diaz appreciates the dedication of their CNP or child nutrition program workers. The school has roughly 30, but only 10 can work at a given time. These ladies have kept busy. Even into summer, they continue to feed not only students, but also neighbors in need of a healthy, nutritious meal. 

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"I love the CNP staff! They are a bunch of hard-working Latinas," adds Diaz.

In appreciation, Diaz and Principal Taylor Nichols teamed up to provide their cafeteria staff with a well-deserved thank you.

"One, I think its most important because they were working the most. Two, they've been affected as well. Their families have other jobs that they may or may not still have, and so it's just really important that we give back," said Nichols of IDEA Rundberg. "And finally, a lot of them are parents of our students, so we just wanted to do what we can for our team and family as often as possible."

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Through both teacher and community donations, the school raised enough money for two fundraisers. One in March, the other in May.

"I was kind of inspired by Taylor, by the precedence he kind of set, and said, 'Hey, let's do it again,' because it's not like these cafeteria staff workers stopped working, right?" said Diaz.

The women were awarded H-E-B gift cards. 

"Our original goal was to make sure that all 30 of the staff members got at least a $50 gift card. We surpassed that goal," said Diaz.

Principal Nichols was awarded $1,000 for being so selfless and helping out their staff. He said he plans to put this extra money back into their fundraiser. 

Congratulations to the CNP staff at IDEA Rundberg. This is proof that hard work never goes unnoticed. Meals will continue through this month and they are looking to update folks through July and August.

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