WOODBURY, N.Y., May 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year in early May school districts nationwide celebrate School Lunch Hero Day. This year, school foodservice provider E S Foods has joined the celebration by selecting 23 winners from across the country who have made a difference in their school districts in this most challenging year for school foodservice. These individuals were recognized locally and presented with an award at their school district.
The Annual School Lunch Hero Day was started by the School Nutrition Association several years ago to honor hardworking nutrition professionals. Between preparing healthy meals for students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, and offering service with a smile, school foodservice professionals are true heroes that deserve recognition.
"This past year was extremely challenging as they had to adapt and find creative ways to provide meals to children who were attending hybrid classes or virtual learning – yet they succeeded getting meals to kids whether it was onsite, curbside or home delivery," says Amy Josephson, Executive Vice President, E S Foods. "There are so many heroes in our industry that it was a daunting task just choosing 23, but we plan to continue the tradition by making it an annual event to reward many more School Lunch Heroes!"
Winners were selected from nominations made by E S Foods' regional sales directors who work closely with the school districts. Representing a sample of the 23 winners, these School Lunch Heroes illustrate the dedication of these foodservice professionals.
Des Moines Public Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, Iowa Amanda Miller, Director of Food & Nutrition
While navigating the unknowns of the pandemic, it was important to feed the children in their community where food insecurity is a real issue for a lot of families. Amanda Miller, Director of Food and Nutrition for Des Moines Public Schools, said the nutrition staff were working 12+ hour shifts to pack and distribute meals. They had such a need that it created large traffic jams at their 22 initial distribution sites so they quickly expanded their sites to 50 locations around the city to be able to distribute meals quicker and easier for families.
Spring USD, Houston, Texas Shelly Copeland, Director of Child Nutrition
Among the many achievements with her team in Texas, Shelly Copeland produced a departmental video for the community that described how they would handle meal distribution across many different methods including meals in the classroom, traditional in person service, remote feeding, and curbside. They wanted to make the public aware that they were taking precautions to feed their kids and provide a safe and healthy environment.
Fresno USD, Fresno, California Barbara Stewart, Buyer II, Nutrition Center
Barbara Stewart and her Fresno Nutrition Team are determined to always find solutions for serving the Fresno Community and students during the pandemic. The Food Services Department offers all meals at no charge to all students regardless of income levels, a policy that reduces burdens for both families and school administrators and helps ensure that all students receive nutritious meals. Approximately 98,000 meals are served daily: 27,000 Breakfasts, 58,000 Lunches, 7,500 Snack snacks and 5,500 Super Snacks – that's every day, including weekends. Additionally, about 222,000 summer meals are served each year, bringing the total to nearly 18 million meals served per year. Stewart's dedication to "making it work" empowered the team to overcome every challenge and successfully provide healthy meals over the past year.
Seattle Public Schools, Seattle, Washington Aaron Smith, Director of School and Nutrition Service
Seattle Public Schools Director of Nutrition Services Aaron Smith, along with District Executive Chef Emme Collins, and their team have given the Child Nutrition Program a complete overhaul that has earned them nationwide accolades and media attention. Through student suggestions and demand for new foods, Smith and his team conducted numerous student taste testing and selection panels to include plant-based proteins, increase in the vegetarian menu options, and ethnic flare menus. In addition, throughout the pandemic the team has been creative in making sure every student receives nutritious meals by incorporating many delivery and support operations. Smith was instrumental in forging a partnership with a local delivery company to do doorstep delivery to the children who did not have the means in which to do curbside meal pick-up at the several Seattle locations.
A leader in school foodservice for over twenty years, E S Foods today serves all foodservice channels with over 100 products that comprise their product categories of shelf-stable, frozen entrees, heat & serve, smart snacks and protein innovations. For more information, visit www.esfoods.com.