Cafeteria staff serve smiles during times of hardship

In an effort to better students’ days 30 minutes at a time, Souderton cafeteria staff continue to serve others. The pandemic has presented challenges to many, but it has not stopped the cafeteria staff’s dedication to helping the student body.


Arrowhead photo by Nate Eraydin

Yum yum…Ringing up sophomore Joey Childs, food service assistant April Dudko strives to help and serve the Souderton community. Over the past two years, the cafeteria staff has faced many challenges and continues to navigate an unprecedented environment.

By serving others with a smile, cafeteria staff members are striving to spread positivity during the pandemic, a time of uncertainty, challenges and shortages.
Their goal is to improve students’ days throughout the year.
Food service assistant April Dudko has been working for Souderton since her daughter was in school.
What Dudko likes the most about her position is the aspect of working with and taking care of students.
Her love for the students has persisted throughout her career, pandemic or not.
“[The kids] are great. They always have been and they always will be,” Dudko said.
A typical day for Dudko involves arriving at 9 a.m., making yogurt parfaits and stocking coolers with crates of milk.
More than anything, her job is to “help people.”
“I help and assist anybody who needs it, maybe with making sandwiches or helping in the dish room putting away clean dishes, so a little bit of everything,” Dudko said.
The same can be said for Food Service Assistant Sabrina Neudecker, who has been working in the cafeteria for over 25 years.
The position fit with her daughter’s schedule, who was starting first grade, where Neudecker could be home in time to spend time with her.
Working with kids is also something that Neudecker has always enjoyed.
Neudecker’s daily occupations include counting and organizing canned fruit, stocking silverware, making sandwiches and using the register, as well as cleaning and sanitizing along the way.
Cafeteria manager Pam Forster began working in Souderton because it matched up with her children’s school schedules, both of whom are now Souderton Area High School alumni.
Forster encourages students to be patient during a difficult time of staffing shortages combined with shortages of goods.
Forster feels bad about the shortages, but said that it is out of the cafeteria’s control.
“We’re not getting everything and that upsets the kids,” Forster said.
Forster expresses that each day in the cafeteria has its unique challenges and her staff will not let COVID-19 be the final straw.
“I have been in every school in the district through my 31 years here,” Forster said, “yet every day is an adventure.”
Each member of the cafeteria staff encourages Souderton students to bring their lunch card with them to the cafeteria to minimize wait times in line.