‘Feeding the future’: Laura Mouriquand keeps Moffat County kids fed
When Moffat County School District food director Laura Mouriquand talks about her time serving food to students, she smiles.
She’s been doing it for years. She started in Falcon School District 49 near Colorado Springs as a lunch lady when her daughter started kindergarten over 20 years ago. Her daughter is 27 now, but the happiness she feels from serving children food every day is still there. From early morning breakfasts to bustling lunch shifts, Mouriquand manages to keep Moffat County students fed all year long.
“My email signature says that we’re feeding the future, one child at a time,” Mouriquand said. “I really feel like it contributes to everything. Teachers teach kids, and I feed the kids. Nutrition for the kids is really important throughout the school day, so they can perform well.”
She emphasized that she can’t do it alone, and she gives most of the credit to her crew of 18 food employees. Across six sites, those crew members make sure each child in the lunch line gets what they need. MCSD food services is facing the same staffing shortages seen across the country, she said, so having such a dedicated staff is a blessing. Even outside of her staff, administrators and school board members have stepped up to help out.
In addition to feeding students, Mouriquand’s job keeps her busy serving food across the district.
“Someone might call in for breakfast, or might have to do a breakfast shift, or I might need to find somebody else to cover it,” she said. “I always like to be out here at lunch, or sometimes I might have to be covering for shifts. It just really depends. I do a lot of catering for the school district for teacher luncheons and certain events like that. It just really depends on the day. Then I do a lot of ordering, as well. I do spend a lot of time trying to find products.”
In addition to staff shortages, school districts across the country are facing shortages and supply chain issues when it comes to bringing in certain foods and other products. Specifically, Mouriquand said that chicken products and certain paper goods like trays and utensils can be difficult to buy unless it’s many weeks in advance. That means menus and how the cafeteria functions must be flexible.
“You just really have to just always keep thinking of different ways to handle things,” she said.
Despite the extra hoops to jump through to make sure everyone gets fed, Mouriquand gets it done. And she’s happy to do it.
“I do like seeing the kids every day,” she said. “This year, I do have holiday cookies that we’re going to give out, so I want to go to the elementary school to see the kids’ faces. I do enjoy seeing little kids. And then, there are the kids that I used to serve when I was an assistant. They’re all grown up now at the high school, and I’ve gotten to see how much they have grown. It’s so amazing. Sometimes, the kids up here will come up and say how good our food is.”
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