JACKSON, Tenn. – May 6, 2003 – The Union University campus was spared from the full force of the May 5 tornado, but the homes of several faculty and staff members were severely damaged by the twister. Out of the 12 fulltime workers in the university's cafeteria, seven had homes that were damaged or destroyed by the storm. Faced with the challenge of preparing around 1,000 meals with only five workers, the university's director of food services received a pleasant surprise - student volunteers.
A group of six Union students put on aprons and voluntarily accepted the task of serving their fellow students in the cafeteria.
"I wanted to help out since some of our workers couldn't get here," said sophomore Anna White, social work major. "I just thought it would be a good thing to do."
Lee Morelock, director of dining services, said he was grateful for the additional help.
"It was good to have these hands," he said. "We were definitely blessed to have a great community like we have here."
Bamby Chao, a nursing major, was already volunteering in tornado-ravaged downtown when she heard that help was needed in the cafeteria. She returned to campus and joined several other students working in the grill area, salad bar and dessert lines.
"Most of us, I don't think, had ever worked in the cafeteria," she said. "We just kind of walked in and they told us what to do."
Both White and Chao said they felt that their service was a learning experience.
"It was a neat opportunity to be on the other side of the cafeteria," White said. She felt she has more appreciation for the hard work the cafeteria staff does every day after she experienced their work for herself.
"I've gained a lot of respect for people who work there," Chao said. "I think that we as students can show more appreciation."
By Katie Gould
Class of '04