EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- After she spent nearly three decades making sure every student went to class with a full belly, one cafeteria worker was served up a special award.
Valrie Baker takes pride in her work.
"Even if I take a day off, I'll be thinking about, wonder if my kids eat today, if they get the proper meal," Baker said. "It's a lot going through the mind. So to make myself happy, I'm here. If I'm here they're going to eat."
For 25 years, she has worked in the cafeteria cooking meals for the students at PS 83 in East Harlem.
It's a responsibility she takes seriously.
"It is important because no one can live without food, and somebody has to step in," she said. "And as a New Yorker, we are trained to step up when there is something to do."
With the help of her team and No Kid Hungry New York, she provides 1,000 free meals a day.
On Wednesday, Baker was honored for her hard work and dedication to the kids that mean so much to her.
"It's a good day for me, and serving the country," she said. "It's one of the greatest things I could do in this country."
She said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the kids come in ready to eat.
And she said her food is so delicious that parents come to her for dinner tips.
"The kids, they will come to you and say 'oh the food is nice today, the food is delicious, can I have seconds?'" she said. "One little boy came to me and said, 'Can I ask my mom to come to this school to show her how to make rice?' I feel like I won when he said that."
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