Cooking for 600 is no picnic

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By Claude Lewis

Every weekday, Kay Maxwell wakes up at 3 in the morning, showers, has her coffee and makes her way to the cafeteria at Chiefland Elementary School.

In front of her is the seemingly monumental task of feeding hundreds of hungry school kids.

Maxwell along with her team of nine other workers perform the task day after day, week after week, month after month.

Maxwell has been at it for 19 years now and still hasn't lost any enthusiasm.

"I love my job," said Maxwell, who has been manager at the school kitchen for eight years and a worker there for 11 years prior. "The key is everybody gets along and everyone works together as a team."

At the same time a few blocks away, Charlotte Hathcox is busy with similar duties, as she heads up the cafeteria and food preparation for Chiefland Middle School and Chiefland High kids.

"I don't come in at 4 a.m.," she admits. "I'm here by 6. I just love being with the kids. I can't imagine being in this job and not liking kids. This job is more like being a momma."

Each kitchen serves up to 200 breakfasts and 600 lunches a day.

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