Without warning Thursday afternoon, Barb Caden, who worked the contract register in the Dining Hall Commons, was terminated by Healthy Foods By Choice.
“When the big boss [Karen Gosik, owner of Choice Foods] came in yesterday she said, ‘Barbara, I have to let you go’ and I said ‘why?’ and she just said ‘we are making new changes next year, and there is no place for you.’ That’s exactly what I was told.” said Caden, reached over the phone. “I asked if there was any other reason and she just said that there was no place for me.”
Caden has worked at the Dining Hall register for nearly 14 years. The Dining Hall operates under Healthy Foods By Choice, a separate organization from the school. She will collect unemployment.
The news of her termination came as a shock to many students and faculty. “She was always there with a smile on her face. She always knew my name and always acted in a friendly manner towards everyone,” sophomore Sonia Patel said.
“I think I cared too much, and I really do care about the children. I care[d] about everything that they care[d] about. I want[ed] what they want[ed] . I want[ed] to make them happy…The teachers would come and I would put their numbers in and I would know everyone,” Caden told WordsWorth. When Caden first joined in 2003, the Class of 2017 was starting their first year of Pre-K in the White Building. She said she has been crying since she was let go.
“Everybody was like family to me, and I miss them all like they are family. I feel like I went to Europe and I can’t see them anymore,” said Caden. She explained how touched she was when Head of School Larry Van Meter sent her a handwritten note when her brother died. “I’m not that far away if anybody needs me,” said Caden. She said that she will attend some school functions such as theater productions and sporting events.
Healthy Foods By Choice responded early Monday evening stating, “Health Foods By Choice (Choice Foods, Inc.) values the privacy of its employees and has a strict policy against commenting on the circumstances why an employee is no longer working for the Company.” Read the full response below.
WordsWorth reached out to Kimberly Watson, Dining Hall Manager, who directed us to contact Choice Foods owner Karen Gosik. This article has been updated to include a quote from Karen Gosik.
Health Foods By Choice (Choice Foods, Inc.) values the privacy of its employees and has a strict policy against commenting on the circumstances why an employee is no longer working for the Company. It would be a violation of our policy, as well as the privacy of the former employee involved, for the Company to comment publicly on the reasons why any employee is no longer an employee. Even when an employee wishes these matters to be public, the Company will not vary from its standard policy, so as to protect the privacy of all its employees.