Kitchen staff keeps CDC children happy, healthy

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
On any given day, the VAFB Child Development Center is charged with caring for more than 100 children ranging in age from infants to five-year-olds.

Within this organization, a small group of individuals makes it their mission to provide these youths with healthy and nutritious sustenance.

"We come in at six thirty, and the first thing we do is prepare for breakfast," said Neftaly Clark 30th Force Support Squadron CDC cook. "Our job is important because we keep the kids fed throughout the day while their nutritional needs are met. I think they really appreciate what we do for them."

In addition to keeping stomachs full, the kitchen staff is responsible for numerous safety considerations while handling the food.

"We have to consider the different age groups when we prepare the food," said Clark. "We take extra care to puree the infants' food and we make sure to cut-up the pre-tots' food into manageable pieces, so they don't choke. We also take allergies into consideration and ensure every child is avoiding anything they're allergic to. We always find a substitution if a child is allergic to a particular item, for example if a child is allergic to wheat, we will try to make his meal exactly like the other kids except substitute wheat for a similar alternative."

Like clockwork, nutritious menu items are served daily for breakfast and lunch, followed by snacks at 2 and 5 p.m.

"Teaching them at a young age to have good health habits is a priority, especially with the obesity rates right now," said Crystal Adams, 30th FSS CDC acting assistant director. "All of our menus go through the base nutritionist for approval. We want to combat unhealthy eating habits anyway we can."

CDC leadership couldn't be prouder of the hard-work and dedication to excellence the kitchen staff has displayed for years.

"They really do a wonderful job," said Adams. "A lot goes into it all when you're doing recipe prep for more than 170 children, not many people could do it while meeting all the different needs of the children."

Judy Mitchell, 30th FSS CDC lead cook, has been dedicated to the welfare of the children for more than 30 years - and wouldn't have it any other way.

"Seeing the kids' faces light up is the best part of my day," said Mitchell. "It makes me feel great to know what I'm doing really makes a difference, and we will continue to take care of them as if they were our own."