If you have read any of my previous posts, you are aware that I was a teacher for many years. I loved working with children! I also worked with some pretty fantastic teachers. We talked all at the same time and could finish one another’s sentences. It was great! We were also a little crazy. By that, I mean we thought it was FUN to take eighth grade students out of town overnight. Actually we took them out of town for three nights. You are now saying-“Yep, she’s crazy.” I am and so were they!
We had a big environmental unit that we taught. One of the ending activities was to spend several days at an environmental center for students. We had a great time exploring ocean topics and the environmental issues. Kids wanted to be on our team and parents wanted them with us, too. In order to take 60 students out of town for several days, we had to have some plans that kept everyone busy and at the same time, made the trip affordable. Since the first and last day involved 7 plus hours on a school bus, we had to have plans for food. Cheap food.
Going down was easy. Everyone brought a snack and a lunch and we had a big cooler. No problem. Coming back was harder because there were no Moms to pack that lunch. The first year we decided to let the camp provide us with box lunches. Big mistake. The food was good but geared more to older students-not middle school ones. The next year we had a better plan for coming home on the interstate food. McDonald’s???? NO. Burger King???? NO.
With a fist full of coupons, we stopped at a local grocery store. We had made major math calculations prior to the trip. We filled two grocery buggies with loaves of bread, peanut butter (because NO ONE was allergic in those days), jelly, bologna (yes we ate that, too), cheese, individual potato chip bags, huge jars of pickles, canned drinks (I know, I know you are shocked), and enough LIttle Debbie snack pies to keep all of us on a sugar high.
Did we stop at a roadside park and have a leisurely picnic? Nope. Stopping to let 60 people have a pit stop took forever. So we didn’t stop to eat. We put the coolers that were filled with food in the back of the bus on the floor. The longest one we put on the back seat and formed a work table. Two of us made sandwiches on that table, wrapped it in a paper towel and passed it to a child. If you wanted that kind-you kept it. If you didn’t, you passed it to the child in front of you. Easy peasy. In no time everyone had a sandwich. We had poured out the liquid in the pickle jars and passed them up the seats ,too. If you wanted a pickle, you got one out. Otherwise, pass it forward. The chips were easy and handled the same way. A teacher in front passed out canned sodas. In no time, everyone was eating. When they finished, they shouted out a request for a new sandwich and we made it and passed it up the seats. We then did the Little Debbie pies. We covered a lot of miles in the silence of eighth graders eating. Was it fancy? No but everyone ate every single thing we had. Our road food was a success!
Every year after that, we did this same food prep and distribution. It’s amazing how many sandwiches you can make while riding in a bus on the interstate!