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When did American teachers lose their lunch break?

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(BPT) - Educators and school staff play some of the most critical roles in their communities. Parents entrust their children to schools each day to learn lessons and valuable skills that will set them up for a lifetime of success. But as students have returned to classrooms this fall and pandemic concerns subside, stress and fatigue are at an all-time high and are leaving educators around the country feeling both unappreciated and hungry.

Lunch is not in today’s lesson plan

A recent nationwide survey commissioned by Subway and ezCater found that more than one in six teachers say they don’t remember the last time they were thanked for their service. In addition, staffing shortages across the country have increased demand on faculty time, so they are often skipping their lunch break to keep up with the demands of the school day. What was once a moment for educators to relax and reset has become a time for grading papers, answering parent emails and lesson planning. The survey also found that:

  • Working over lunch. More than one in two (54%) teachers report that they always, almost always or often work through their entire lunch break.
  • No time for lunch. Nearly 40% of teachers reported skipping meals throughout the day to get work done.
  • Freezer burn. More than one in three teachers report they are almost never able to eat an actual lunch that doesn’t come from the freezer section, vending machine or microwave.

The little things go a long way

While these findings are troubling, the survey reports that simple acts of kindness can help. More than 90% of teachers surveyed said that a small token of appreciation can turn a rough day at school into a great one. Given the challenges educators face to have meals during the day, the gift of quality food is especially appreciated.

One easy way to lend a hand is entering the Catering for Educators contest. Subway, in partnership with ezCater, is encouraging nominations for hardworking educators who will win one of 2,022 Subway catered lunches. Through September 30, people can log on to CateringforEducators.com to nominate the faculty and staff at their favorite school. Later this fall, the catered lunches will be delivered to the 2,022 schools across the country.

“Our schools and their talented, hardworking staff are the bedrock of our communities, and the sacrifices they make as part of their job often go unnoticed,” says Jenn Saunders-Haynes, Director of Catering at Subway. “Alongside our ezCater partner and our 11,000 franchisees across the country, we are proud to step up to recognize educators and faculty.”

It’s time to show our appreciation for the hardworking and invaluable educators after the back-to-school buzz fades and they need it most. To learn more about Subway's Catering for Educators contest, visit CateringforEducators.com.