NewsPinellas County


Modern-day 'lunch lady' wins major award for her work at Clearwater’s Belcher Elementary

“We’re the first role models these kids meet”
Tammy Ingrassia
Posted at 3:10 AM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 17:37:45-05

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Consider Tammy Ingrassia a modern-day lunch lady.

Sure, she provides healthy delicious meals to the students at Belcher Elementary School in Clearwater.

PINELLAS NEWS | The latest headlines from Pinellas County

But this award-winning educator teaches as well as feeds.

“Even if just one kid can learn how to eat healthier,” she says, getting ready for the lunchtime rush in the school’s cafeteria. “It will start a trend.”

To better educate the grade-schoolers about healthy food options, “Miss Tammy” spearheaded the idea for an edible classroom, a sprawling working garden on the school’s property.

“We grow radishes, carrots, dill, peppers,” she says. “Sunflowers and tomatoes, too.”

Kids tend the garden, eat from the garden, learn from the garden.

Turning her job into something even more impactful earned Miss Tammy the highest of honor: Pinellas County Support Employee of the Year.

“Not everybody is great at math, great at reading,” says the super lunch lady. “But when you’re good at something, and you do your best, it shows.”