National School Lunch Hero Day is May 5th!
In 2013, the School Nutrition Association and Lunch Ladies author Jarrett J. Krosoczka established National School Lunch Hero day to celebrate school nutrition staff and all they do each day to serve their communities. School nutrition programs are critical for student well-being and success, and these programs could not function without the passion, dedication, and hard work of school nutrition professionals. In Texas, 1 in 5 children face food insecurity. School nutrition professionals are the frontline of battling food insecurity, feeding students and offering them safety and stability. While preparing food, adhering to meal standards and regulations, and bringing joy to students, school nutrition professionals show us that not all heroes wear capes — some wear aprons.
No Kid Hungry Texas believes that all school nutrition professionals are heroes for the work they do to ensure students are not only fed, but nourished at school. No Kid Hungry Texas received nearly 70 Hunger Hero nominations submitted by community members to recognize individuals who go above and beyond to ensure kids have access to healthy meals every day. This year, we are recognizing two heroes– Melissa Bryan from Copperas Cove ISD and Terry Chisenhall from Mesquite ISD for the phenomenal work they do to ensure all kids have the food they need to thrive. For their hard work and dedication, Melissa and Terry received a certificate and a $3,500 unrestricted grant to celebrate child nutrition staff.
Texas School Nutrition Heroes
Melissa Bryan, Child Nutrition Director, Copperas Cove Independent School District
Melissa serves as the director for the child nutrition department at Copperas Cove Independent School District. Melissa shared with No Kid Hungry Texas that she’s able to shine because of the hard work and dedication of her child nutrition staff. With that in mind, Melissa chose to distribute the grant award amongst her staff and gave a $50 bonus to every child nutrition staff member and a $100 bonus to child nutrition managers.
Copperas Cove ISD administration & staff lauded Melissa for her excitement and commitment to feeding kids healthy meals. She was also praised for her ability to think outside of the box and see through initiatives such as Farm Fresh Fridays, Taste of Texas Tour, and tastings so students can offer input on school meals. Most importantly, her nominators noted all the work she has done to transform her staff into one who cares about the kids they serve and the food they eat.
You can read more about Melissa being named a hunger hero here.
Terry Chisenhall, Child Nutrition Director, Mesquite Independent School District
Melissa serves as a manager for the child nutrition department at Mesquite Independent School District. The child nutrition department decided to divide the funds into three ways– a celebratory luncheon for Terry, a renovation for Terry’s office space, and to supplement the cafeteria’s decor budget for the upcoming school year.
Mesquite ISD staff praised Terry for her ability to consistently manage the entire cafe staff with love and high expectations. She works hard to make her cafe lines welcoming to students and decorates them for every holiday. Her nominators noted her commitment to dispelling false rumors about school meals– making sure folks know they’re tasty and healthy! She is an active member on the department’s Facebook page and parents’ Facebook page to address any concerns and post pictures of the high quality meals her team serves.
For No Kid Hungry, School Lunch Hero Day isn’t just one day — we’re grateful for the commitment and compassion the school nutrition staff across Texas demonstrate each and every day. Thank you!