Ms. Fran, better known to students as “Mimi,” was instrumental in opening the Spring Creek School Nutrition Program. Now in the fourth year of operation, the school continues to grow and expand from what was once an elementary school to one which now houses 9th-grade students as well. During a recent visit, I was impressed to see the “ease” with which Ms. Fran and her staff make meal prep and service appear to cafeteria visitors; however, behind-the-scenes it is not so easy.
Ms. Fran starts her day before the sun comes up, regardless of the season or time of the year, and sets out to prepare breakfast and lunch meals for 400-plus students and teachers. She lives by the clock and has her day strategically planned to allow for travel to and from while taking into consideration the possible farm equipment she may encounter along the way that may slow the trip. Decatur County is rich in agricultural roots which is evident throughout the community.
Ms. Fran grew up in Bainbridge, GA and is proud of her hometown and the heritage she is part of. She and her husband have been married for 29 years and have built a beautiful family together. Her face lights up when talking about her four grandchildren, two of whom attend Spring Creek with her each day, hence the name “Mimi.” It started with her grandchildren calling her that name when their paths crossed, and it was soon echoed by their friends as well. I could tell that she had no reservations about sharing her beloved name with others.
Ms. Fran not only enjoys time with her family, but she also enjoys traveling —she recently completed a 21-day trip out West— the beach, cooking, gardening, and swimming. However, her passion is feeding children.
“I enjoy trying different recipes and looking at ways we can take our USDA items to create menu options that will appeal to the students. The School Nutrition staff is very important to the school day and we take pride in what we do,” stated Ms. Fran. She went further to say the small school environment allows for a personal relationship with the students and staff, and she finds that to be the most enjoyable part of her time at work.
“Mimi” teared up when talking about “her” kids and the smiles and good morning greetings that are important to her. Her desire is to start each day as positively as possible, on time, and with a quality meal so that the customers will want to come back.
Ms. Polly Chapman, School Nutrition Director for Spring Creek Charter and Pataula Charter schools stated, “Our Spring Creek manager, Fran Crews is a true hero. Fran has been my manager since the start of Spring Creek. We had many challenges when starting a brand-new school, but Fran works daily to continue improvements, looks for ways to increase participation, and is just an all-around asset to Spring Creek!”
I met a hero when I met Ms. Fran Crews, and I am so proud I did. Spring Creeks roots are tied deep in the soil of Decatur County, and it is obvious that the harvest will be plentiful!