Interviewee: Diane Morgan
Interviewer: Jeffrey Boyce
Date: June 24, 2016
Description: Diane Morgan is a foodservice worker in the Virgin Islands.
Jeffrey Boyce: I’m Jeffrey Boyce and it is June 24, 2016. I’m here in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and this morning I’m talking with Diane Morgan. Welcome Diane and thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
Diane Morgan: Good Morning.
JB: Could we begin by you telling me a little bit about yourself, where you were born and where you grew up?
DM: My name is Diane Morgan and I was born in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands.
JB: Oh, so you’re a local.
JB: So you went to elementary and high school here?
DM: I went to Lockhart Elementary.
JB: Was there a meal program when you were going there? Did you eat lunch at school, or breakfast?
DM: Yes I did.
JB: Do you remember what some of your favorite menu items were?
DM: Some of the favorites were like baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, rice, white rice; let’s say that, white rice.
JB: So after school what did you do? Did you go straight into working in the child nutrition?
JB: How did you get involved in that?
DM: After I graduated from high school in ’92 I got into the government, to the school lunch warehouse, and that’s where I worked first, as a laborer.
DM: But then I ended up laboring in Lockhart School too.
JB: And what is your position now?
DM: I’m still a laborer, but I work in the kitchen as a laborer, but I still do all different stuff.
JB: What’s a typical day like for you? What do you do? What time do you start in the morning?
DM: I will go in at like six-thirty and when I get in, like if the trucks come around 8-9 to deliver stuff, so I pack them up – chill box, dry stuff, frozen.
JB: So you work in like the central kitchen and send food out?
JB: How many schools does this kitchen serve?
DM: Three, because they do satellites to three other schools.
JB: OK, this school and then you send food out to three more.
JB: OK, so you do breakfast and lunch for the schools?
DM: Breakfast and lunch for like two of them.
JB: Has there been a mentor or someone who sort of helped guide you as you developed in your career?
DM: Ms. Izaak.
JB: She’s the state director?
DM: She was the director at that time.
JB: So you worked under her as the director?
DM: Under her; well I was a laborer; she was my director. Then I came here at Cancryn and I worked with Ms. Puckett. I worked with Mr. Roberts too. He was a kitchen manager for us too, and I learned a lot from them.
JB: Sounds like a helpful environment. Do you think there’s anything unique about the Virgin Islands regarding the child lunch programs, anything special that you do differently maybe?
DM: The food is different from America.
JB: It sounds pretty healthy. There’s a lot of baked chicken in America.
DM: Yea, but it’s different to me. Some of the things we get here, they don’t get there I guess.
JB: What are some of the biggest challenges? Is there anything that’s tough or difficult about your job?
DM: Not really. The only thing that’s difficult about it is we just need more workers.
JB: Short staff?
DM: Short staff; we need more help. I think if we had more help it would much go better, more easier for some people.
JB: What do you think has been your most significant contribution to the program?
DM: Helping out; feeding the kids.
JB: Making sure the kids get fed?
DM: Making sure the kids get fed, and making sure they like what they eat.
JB: Do you have any memorable stories about some of the special kids you’ve served or people you’ve worked with over your career?
DM: Some of them like the food and they will come back and say, “The food tastes good.”
JB: That must make you feel good.
DM: Yes, it does. It makes you feel good. And they come back and say, “The lunch, that feels good to me.”
JB: Well thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
DM: OK. Thank you.