Parents Help Strongsville Teachers Keep Trucking With Free Lunch

Perhaps out of necessity more than anything else, Jennie Kelley-Crosby has become well-versed in vital coronavirus self-care measures having worked throughout the global health crisis as a nurse at MetroHealth Medical Center.

As much time as she has spent finding ways to break away from the daily stress of her work as encouraged by her employer since the pandemic started, Kelley-Crosby has realized that educators also bear the brunt of many of the same stressors on a regular basis.

So on Wednesday, Kelley-Crosby and other Strongsville parents arranged for Greg Esterburg’s Off The GRIDdle food truck to arrive at Strongsville Middle School to provide lunch for teachers and staff members as a way of providing some self-care and community support for other essential workers that have been called upon for extra duty.

“I worry about the teachers, and the level of stress they are dealing with during this time,” Kelley-Crosby wrote in an email to Patch on Wednesday. “They have been forced into educating students in a way that they have never done before. They are constantly adapting and changing and working very hard to provide the same quality of education that we have become accustomed to in Strongsville. If our teachers are not given time to practice self-care, then how can we expect them to provide quality, meaningful, education to our children?”

She continued: “Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what is happening in our own lives, that we forget to show our appreciation for the people that are doing one of the most important jobs — educating future generations.”

While Wednesday’s lunch delivery provided support to teachers and staff at the middle school, it also was meant to support local businesses, which continued to be hit hard by pandemic-related restrictions, Kelley-Crosby wrote. After seeing Esterburg’s mobile business at a recent food truck rally in Strongsville, Kelley-Crosby and other parents figured using the truck to support teachers with a mid-week lunch provided some positivity to two entities that could use some support in the midst of continued uncertainty. On Wednesday, that came in the form of a meal delivered to to teachers’ front door.

In an email sent to Strongsville Middle School Principal Jessica Boytim on Wednesday, parents wrote:

“Some parents in the community would like to show our appreciation to the teachers and staff at the middle school by sending them lunch. We recognize their dedication, and passion for providing quality education, during this difficult time.

Thank you for all of your hard work! We wanted to make sure that you know how much we appreciate all that you, the teachers and the staff at the middle school, do to keep our kids safe while providing a high standard of education.”

Simple acts of kindess, Kelley-Crosby wrote, can provide some motivation to others as the pandemic continues.

“There is so much negativity, and unrest in our community right now that is unsettling,” she wrote in an email. “We cannot change how other people are dealing with stress, but we can choose not to participate in spreading negativity, misinformation or hatred on social media.”