Griggers’ cooking a labor of love

Published 12:14 am Friday, November 21, 2008

There are two things in life that Pat Griggers knows — food and that she dearly loves her granddaughter, Autumn Chesteen.

And to prove it, Griggers volunteers five days a week at Bright Beginnings Preschool, where Chesteen is a student.

On Thursday, Griggers went one step further in proving how much she is dedicated to not only her granddaughter but also to the students at Bright Beginnings — she cooked everyone there a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, dressing, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes and peach cobbler.

“And not no store bought cobbler either,” Griggers said.

Many may be familiar with Griggers. She served as the dietary manager for Piggly Wiggler for many years before becoming the dietary manager at the Evergreen Nursing Home, where she worked for nearly 17 years.

“I just dearly love children,” she said. “I’ve worked in food all my life and it just seemed like the thing to do.”

Bright Beginnings teacher Bettie Earnest said the day’s meal is just one of the many things Griggers does to benefit the school.

“She is here every day,” Earnest said. “She helps any way and everyone she can. She’s just wonderful.”

Earnest said Griggers drives every day from the Brooklyn community to help at the school.

“Past Brooklyn really,” Earnest said. “Her granddaughter’s parents work at Shaw. They bring her every day and every day Pat is here doing whatever we need her to do.”

Griggers drives 27 miles every day to volunteer. Willie Thompson, director of Bright Beginnings, said Griggers handles all needs for the school — food and otherwise.

“She is so dedicated,” Thompson said. “You can’t give her enough to do. When the school day is over at noon, she goes over to the elementary school and helps them. Every single day.

“That’s dedication,” he said.

Thompson said Griggers provides an invaluable service to not only the school but also the students and her family.

“I don’t know what we’d do without her,” he said. “She spoils us. Her volunteering allows the aides inside the classroom to help the teacher more and give one-on-one attention.

“She has said when her grandbaby leaves this year, she’s going to keep coming back,” he said. “I hope so. Like I said, I don’t know what we’d do without her.”

Students came to the table Thursday dressed as pilgrims and Indians — complete with Froot Loop necklaces and paper vests — ready to enjoy the meal.