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60 Years of Stories! The Lunch Bunch

The Lunch Bunch

“Working at St. Louis Community College, we had to connect with people across the College, not just in our division. Over time we became good friends. We’ve looked after each other for a long time. We celebrated the good times, hosting luncheons and showers for weddings, babies and graduations. If someone’s family hit a hard time and was hurting, we would rally around them to make sure they had what they needed. That was the culture and community we had at STLCC-Florissant Valley. This little group is a continuation of that community. We love each other like sisters and continue to support each other.”

~The Lunch Bunch, a group of retired, longtime employees of St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley who have a standing monthly lunch. 

If you go out for lunch on the third Wednesday of the month, keep an eye out for the Lunch Bunch, a group of ladies who retired from STLCC-Florissant Valley. Each was a career-employee, and most worked at the College for 30 or 40-plus years. Over the decades, they formed deep friendships. For the past seven years, the Lunch Bunch meets to enjoy lunch, catch up and reminisce over memories. 

The group started as a resource for navigating STLCC’s retirement system. “A couple of my friends and co-workers reached out to me because I chaired the retirement committee. They wanted to know the ins and outs of the College’s retirement system, and so we went to lunch to talk about it. Well, we continued going to lunch regularly. As other people started retiring, we asked them if they wanted to join our lunches. We all had such great friendships at STLCC. Of course, we wanted to stay connected to friends after we stopped working there. As we grew bigger, scheduling got harder, so we settled on a standard time - 11:30 on the third Wednesday of every month,” explained Vicki Lucido. 

After decades of serving the students of STLCC, the Lunch Bunch enjoys the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Lunches always start at 11:30 a.m. but have been known to stretch into the late afternoon hours. As Pam Wolf described, “I feel like these women are sisters. We’ve been through the same things. We are pretty close to the same age. We are all sharing the same thing as we get older. These friendships are so important to me. We started talking mostly about work. As the years have gone by, we talk about everything. These women are so supportive, I am blessed to know each one of them. These lunches are precious to me.” 

The Lunch Bunch is made up of 13 ladies: Lucido, 33 years at the College; Pam Wolf, 37 years; Eileen Phillips, 45 years; Eileen Kuenzel, 35 years; Carolyn Schriner, 14 years; Barb Scznesiak, 32 years; Deb Baumgartner, 21 years; Diana Wilmesherr (Crowell) 25 years; Carol Hoogland, 31 years; Rose Graham, 42 years; Deb Neale, 12 years; Sandy Drezek and Linda Calvert, 19 years. Sadly, in the past few years, the group lost two members – Jan Vogt and Pat Muench. A coffee cup was decorated in their memory, which is brought to each lunch and used to draw the name of the next month’s location. Lunch Bunch members sitting at table

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the group continued to meet virtually or outdoors. Since the pandemic, they have made it a point to support their favorite local restaurants. One of the founding members, Eileen Phillips, moved to Florida a few years ago but still video calls in for each lunch. 

As a group, the Lunch Bunch has over 346 years of collective experience at STLCC. As it becomes increasingly rare for employees to work with the same organization for their entire career, that much-shared work experience is pretty special. 

The members of the Lunch Bunch are connected to the College beyond work. Many of them graduated from STLCC, and it’s where they met husbands, sent kids to school and attended continuing education courses. With more than 1.3 million alumni since 1962, it’s hard not to have a connection to STLCC.

One thing the ladies in the Lunch Bunch have in common is a shared commitment to the students. As Pam Wolf described, “everything we did was for the students. We all worked so well together and got along so well because we all put the students first. Prioritizing the students and helping them get to their goals. I enjoyed working with the diverse group of students we had. Many students who attend STLCC have other responsibilities outside of school, like taking care of family members and working additional jobs. We did a great job of working with those students.”

The Lunch Bunch continues to support students at STLCC and their community. They’ve organized charitable giving collections, especially around the winter holidays. “Those are great things our group has been able to do. We’ve organized collections for the food and personal hygiene pantry at STLCC-Florissant Valley. Also, we’ve crocheted and collected hats, scarves and items to contribute to a local women’s shelter and church. It’s been a fun thing for our group. It’s just a continuation of what we would do when we were still working at STLCC.”

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