More Heroic Than Ever Amid School Closures

It may look a little different this year, with school closures and empty cafeterias, but the celebration of School Lunch Hero Day (SLHD) on May 1, 2020, has never been more important. Among the frontline heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic, school nutrition professionals have continued to step up to the crucial task of feeding America’s children.

The school nutrition staff at Northside Independent School District (TX) are serving 27,000 meals a day during school closures because of COVID-19. They’re sure not letting social distancing and protective gear dampen their spirit!

For the past eight years, School Nutrition Association (SNA) has partnered with “Lunch Lady” book series author Jarrett J. Krosoczka to celebrate SLHD. Through funny cards, crazy costumes, events of all sizes and cafeteria decorations, SLHD reminds communities that school nutrition employees deserve some recognition. This year, SLHD kicks off a weeklong virtual celebration to recognize the compassion and heroic efforts of the professionals that are so vital to emergency feeding programs in communities nationwide.

There are so many reasons to recognize these heroes, many of their behind-the-scenes efforts to provide healthy meals in a safe environment go unnoticed.  Students and parents do see their special acts of kindness during this difficult time, from dressing in fun costumes to deliver school meals curbside to drawing inspirational messages on food containers or signs at meal pick-up sites.

Many districts are also incorporating community partners and staff from across the  school community to help ensure student access to healthy school meals. Billerica Public Schools (MA) school nutrition team is working alongside district administration during school closures. This unprecedented time provides administration with a unique first-hand look into the intricate tasks involved in preparing and serving student meals.   

In five weeks of emergency feeding, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GA) have served more than 1.4 million meals through 68 feeding sites and 500 buses. They are serving a combination of hot and cold foods that include a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Both school nutrition and transportation employees are working together to ensure students are continuing to receive school meals. 

Traditionally, SLHD is a chance to showcase the difference school nutrition professionals make for every child who comes through the cafeteria. Since the closure of schools, there is no question the difference these School Lunch Heroes are making in the day to day lives of children and their families. Being able to pick up school meals curbside or delivered by school bus has made these newly masked and gloved heroes a positive constant in the lives of many children right now. Bravo School Lunch Heroes, Bravo!

Starting tomorrow, School Lunch Hero Day – May 1, through May 8, Tray Talk will be profiling heroes on Tray Talk Facebook as part of our nomination shout outs to School Lunch Heroes around the country! 

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