Concerns about what students are served in local school cafeterias as well as the safety factor of lunchrooms statewide were addressed by a West Lauderdale School cafeteria manager at June’s meeting of the Center Hill Community Development Club.

Medina Teer, cafeteria manager at West Lauderdale Middle and High schools, said her goal during her presentation was to inform the club just how safe cafeterias are. addressed those concerns and others during her presentation

“One of the most important steps we take to insure food safety is the proper cleaning and sterilization of all surfaces and implements used in the preparation of food,” said Teer, who has served as lunch room manager of the West Lauderdale schools’ since the 1998-99 school year and is certified as a ServSafe Manager and Food Handler. 

The most useful tool in any kitchen? The temperature probe or thermometer to assure the correct cooking temperature of prepared foods.

“While there are some variances, meat should reach the internal temp of 145 degrees with ground meats at 160 degrees F. poultry 165 degrees F; fish 145 degrees F.,” Teer said.

While everyone is not required to take the ServSafe course, Teer said is recommended. 

“It is more complex than it was in days gone by, where food workers had to watch a few films and be certified,” she said. “It is my job to make sure that all workers know the importance of food safety from personal hygiene practices, preventing cross-contamination, safe food preparation, receiving and storing food, to proper methods of thawing, cooking, cooling and reheating food.”

After her presentation, Teer fielded questions from members.

Club president Robin Doerner welcomed the members and opened the meeting with her monthly quote, which for June was: “My heart says cheese dip; my jeans say ‘For God’s sake, woman, eat salad!’”

Cathy Clearman provided the devotion reading from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. In the devotional series, Young writes as if Jesus was speaking. The selection for June 20 was: “I speak to you continually. My nature is to communicate, though not always in words. I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you. I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence.

“You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear. Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover My Presence. Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals. Gradually, you will find Me in more and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.”

Bible references were Psalm 8:1-4; Psalm 19:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19; and Jeremiah 29:13.

In his Safety Report, Stanley Lucky reminded members – especially those who live alone – to keep emergency contact numbers in a easily found location, such as the refrigerator door. 

“This allows EMT’s or other first responders to notify family members or close friends in the case of emergency,” Lucky said.

Doerner announced Yard of the Month honors went to Elouise Ethridge. Doerner encouraged members to take the opportunity to view Ethridge’s yard.

Elaine Herber reported she took collected can goods to the Veterans Center, noting the staff was appreciative as their shelves were nearly bare.

Doerner reported on the recent CDC Council meeting, which was held June 3 at the extension office. Craig Wilkes with Go Green Meridian and Anne McKee and Caroline Starnes with the Rose Hill Cemetery Tour were guest speakers at the meeting.

During his presentation, Wilkes said the goal for Go Green Meridian is for at least one community garden to be established in each of the city’s five wards.  

“We support the Love and Peas Community Garden, the Meridian Freedom Project Garden and the Greater Allen Chapel Community Garden,” he said. “The first one was in Ward 5 and it already supplies fresh produce for LOVE’s Kitchen.”

A self-funded organization, Go Green Meridian raises money to further its mission to teach others how to grow food responsibly and organically, and to support community gardens. In the last three years during May, Go Green Meridian sponsor a plant sale at Earth’s Bounty which is their biggest fundraiser of the year. All seeds are heirloom varieties and non-gmo qualities. 

To learn more about Go Green Meridian, visit the website  www.gogreenmeridian.com or go to their Facebook page.

McKee and Starnes promoted the Rose Hill Cemetery Tour scheduled for Sept. 24. The one-hour free tour provides an overview of the history of the Queen City. 

For those unable to stand in line, a play and storytelling event will be presented July 23 and 24 at the Temple Theater. Tickets are $15, adults; $10, kids. Proceeds go to the Rose Hill Cemetery Tour.

Doerner informed members about the daylily farm in Hattiesburg owned by daylily breeder Earl Watts and suggested a possible visit by the club while the daylilies are still blooming. More information will be provided at a future meeting.

Members discussed plans for the annual Sponsors Appreciation Supper scheduled July 18. 

Refreshments for the June meeting were served by host and hostess Brent Stephens, Wallace Terry and Robbie Thead.

Door prizes were awarded to Kacy Lucky, Elaine Herber and Dot Doerner.

The meeting adjourned with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag led by Stanley Lucky.

• Submitted by Cathy Clearman, reporter.

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