SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — In a Sioux City kitchen, cooks were hard at work Tuesday whipping up a Christmas dinner of baked ham, sage dressing, mashed potatoes and desserts.
But the approximately 200 dinner guests won't be invited to someone's home for the feast. It's coming to them: They're incarcerated.
The Sioux City Journal reports that the staff at CBM Managed Services in Sioux City cooked a special holiday meal for the inmates at the Woodbury County Jail, Woodbury County Juvenile Detention Center and correctional staff.
The Sioux Falls-based company contracts to provide meals for Woodbury, Plymouth and Dakota County, Neb., inmates.
Workers try to cook up something special for inmates jailed over the holidays, said Brad Clark, CBM's director of food service for Woodbury County. On Thanksgiving, he roasted 160 pounds of turkey.
In addition to the main meal, inmates also got corn, a dinner roll and an ice cream cup.
“It's tough for them,” Clark said. “We try to make them feel more at home.”
Cooks at CBM's kitchen regularly whip up about 400 hot meals each day. Another 200 breakfasts of milk, cereal and muffins are assembled by inmates.
They deliver the meals from the Sioux City-area kitchen to the jail facilities in Sioux City. Other kitchen crews cook for the jails in Dakota County and Plymouth County.
The job at CBM's kitchen in Sioux City is Chris Rouillard's first culinary foray. Though she previously worked at the Delta Air Lines call center in Sioux City, Rouillard is no culinary newbie. She loves cooking, especially with her grandchildren. It feels like she's found her calling, she said.
“I love this job,” Rouillard said recently, scooping sugar cookies into a baking pan. “It's not like working.”
Cook Joann Hueschen tries to brighten the day for children in juvenile detention. She feels the same affection for them as she did for the children she cooked for in her previous job at South Sioux City Community Schools.
Though her hands are tied by federal child nutrition guidelines, she tries to sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips into the cookies. The kids in juvenile detention appreciate it, she said.
“They're kids. They made mistakes,” Hueschen said. “We're all human. They're young and hopefully they'll straighten up.”
Rhonda Schutt, also a former school cook, said she and her co-workers try to give inmates a meal they would want to eat themselves.
“We like nice meals,” she said, while stirring a giant container of potato soup. “They need to have nice meals.”
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