She's the chief cook at school
By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
School is coming to an end for the children of the area and they are looking forward to having a great summer vacation. Teachers will be busy for a while and of course they have to come back earlier than the kids for next year.
Lucille Howington, this week's profile subject, may have looked forward to having a few more weeks off, but her love for the children and her worry about their diet over the summer has led her to make other plans.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is very concerned about the diets of today's children. As more and more fast foods and unhealthy foods enter the picture, children tend to eat them instead of the healthy balanced meals that they need in their growing years.
The school breakfast and lunch program has been in existence for many years but this year will see another element added to the program.
Beginning June 1, and running through July 23, breakfast and lunch will still be served at W.S. Neal Middle School, Monday through Friday. Through the Child Nutritional Program a grant was obtained to fund the program for this summer.
If one takes a good look at the meals provided by the area schools, he would find that they are indeed nutritional and healthy. Meals are mapped well in advance and the same recipes are used all over the state. There may be slight changes due to something not coming in at the right time but all in all they stay as they are listed on a monthly basis. The meals are based on the proper diets recommended by the USDA.
This is where Lucille Howington comes into the picture. She is the manager of W.S. Neal Middle School cafeteria and it will be her job to continue the regular program on into the summer.
Although the program is for the children and the meals are free to anyone under the age of 18, adults may get a meal for the cost of $3.25. The people that are making the program available are hoping that parents will work together to make sure that the children get to the school, since the buses will not be running.
The school could not have a better person in charge of the lunchroom. Howington has found her niche and loves the job.
Although she doesn't tell anyone, she is more than a lunchroom worker to the children. She is there for them in many other ways. She knows the ones who need things and she is always trying to help out. She has given them money for their lunch when she knows they don't have it.
Howington hasn't always worked at the school but she has been there for over 20 years.
She was raised north of Brewton and attended North Brewton Junior High School for nine years. She then went to W.S. Neal where she graduated in 1959. She married right out of high school to James Howington and went to work at the old Judy Bond plant here in Brewton, but soon went to a finance company before working at Vanity Fair in Monroeville. She also worked at Frisco Sportswear at Frisco City for a while.
In about 1970 she went back to Judy Bond and worked there for the next 12 years. She went to work for the county school as a lunchroom worker at W.S. Neal High School. When the new middle school opened in 2001 she got the opportunity to move over as the manager.
She, her husband, James, and their two sons, Ed and Daryl lived in East Brewton for some 18 years until their house caught on fire and burned down.
That's when they moved north of Brewton near where she grew up. She came from a family of four sisters and one brother and they are a close-knit family. The sisters spend a lot of time together and take what she calls "Sister Trips" together, where they all go somewhere and spend a few days enjoying each other's company.
She now has three grandchildren and one great-grandchild which she is very proud of. Her house is very full when they all come to visit.
She is not thinking too much about retirement but she is definite about what she would like to do after she quits working at the school.