“Beyond the call of duty”: Forest Oaks thanks CNP staff

The Forest Oaks Elementary School community surprised the school's CNP staff with a celebration and gift baskets on Jan. 28 to thank them for their work and caring during the Jan. 28, 2014 snow storm. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The Forest Oaks Elementary School community surprised the school’s CNP staff with a celebration and gift baskets on Jan. 28 to thank them for their work and caring during the Jan. 28, 2014 snow storm. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

CHELSEA—When the Forest Oaks Elementary School Child Nutrition Program staff arrived to work on Jan. 28, 2014, they didn’t realize they would be staying at school over night. However, when a paralyzing snowstorm hit, they willingly worked long past their normal hours to ensure stranded children and faculty had a healthy dinner, snacks and a hot breakfast.

One year later, on Jan. 28, 2015, the CNP staff was met with another surprise—a thank you from the Forest Oaks community.

“We had no clue what they were doing,” CNP manager Angie Smith said with a laugh. “One of the mothers made us the most gorgeous cake.”

The CNP staff also received special gift baskets prepared by the entire school community.

“It was personalized, each basket for each person,” CNP assistant manager Tonya Mims said, adding the surprise was “so sweet.”

The Jan. 28 surprise was just a small thank you for the CNP staff’s service during the snow storm and for what they do every day, Forest Oaks Principal Resia Brooks explained.

“Once we discovered we would be here for the long haul, we met together as a team and we talked about what we needed to do,” Brooks said, recalling the early 2014 snowstorm and planning the “Camp Forest Oaks” overnight experience. “Angie took the lead and said, ‘Hey, here’s what we have in the kitchen.’”

Smith and the CNP staff jumped into action, preparing snacks for the children and faculty stuck at school and planning menus for a hot dinner and breakfast, which were communicated to parents to reassure them of their children’s safety.

The CNP staff also made cookie cake to complete an impromptu birthday celebration for two teachers who stayed at Camp Forest Oaks overnight.

“They went beyond the call of duty,” Brooks said. “That’s just how thoughtful they are, and not just during Snowmageddon. They always think about how they can support our school… they’re always thinking about how to make everyone else’s day better.”